Market darling turned embattled franchisor Domino’s Pizza has become the latest stalwart in the scandal-plagued sector to be hit with a class action lawsuit. The restaurant is currently under fire for allegedly having its franchisee employees work without entitlements including 25 per cent loading for casual work, penalty rates or uniform cleaning allowances. This is because delivery drivers and in-store workers at Domino’s restaurants are not being properly paid under the Fast Food Industry Award and as such, they are being paid less than what they should be paid. According to Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) secretary Josh Cullinan, who was involved in the investigation into a Fair Work Commission case which terminated more than 20 outdated Domino’s enterprise agreements in late 2017, believes more than 10,000 workers are being underpaid.
Federal Court proceedings against the fast-food giant, alleging franchisees underpaid thousands of workers at its direction, has initiated. The class action seeks the difference between the wage paid under the “inapplicable employment agreements” and relevant Award wages. A Statement of Claim filed with the Court on 24 June 2019 claims Domino’s misled or deceived franchisees, by telling them to pay workers under outdated enterprise agreements for almost five years. It is also alleged that “Domino’s misled franchisees who, in reliance upon Domino’s representations and conduct, paid their employees in accordance with a number of industrial agreements rather than under the Fast Food Industry Award 2010″.
The lead applicant claims compensation against Domino’s for alleged underpayment by the lead applicant’s franchisee employer. Also, the lead applicant has not made any claim against his franchisee employer and no franchisee employer is a party to the action. The documents do not quantify any loss by the lead applicant or the alleged group and thus Domino’s rejects the allegation made in the documents and intends to defend the action.
As of 24 June 2019, the nation’s largest pizza company confirmed it still had not been served with the class action court documents, but it did have an unsealed copy of documents reportedly filed in the Melbourne Registry of the Federal Court Australia on the 24 of June 2019. Domino’s claims it is of the view that “those industrial agreements applied to its franchisees at all relevant times” and that “it did not mislead its franchisee employers as to their employee payment obligations”. Conclusively, the company denies it misled franchisees over employee payments terms and has reiterated plans to defend the class action.
If you think your employer is underpaying their staff, or you have otherwise been unfairly treated in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact Freedman & Gopalan Solicitors on (02) 8999 9837 or by email to [email protected] to discuss your legal avenues!