HORSHAM, PA. — Bimbo Bakeries USA, a division of Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV, is facing several wage lawsuits brought by delivery drivers who are challenging what they consider to be the unlawful misclassification of them as independent contractors instead of employees.
Over the past two months, BBU has been sued in multiple states in connection with the wage dispute, with the most recent case involving Andre Roberts, who delivered bread and baked foods for Bimbo in Massachusetts between 2012 and 2019.
According to the lawsuits, Bimbo’s relationship with its drivers is more than just as independent contractors, who are not entitled to the protections of state and federal employment laws.
Instead, many of Bimbo’s drivers are required to form independent corporations to obtain distribution rights for certain sales territories, the lawsuits said.
“The work of plaintiff and other IBPs falls squarely within defendants’ usual course of business, and their work is integral to defendants’ baked goods distribution business, and defendants also directly employ delivery drivers who perform the same work for defendants but who are treated as W2 employees,” the lawsuit filed on behalf of Mr. Roberts said.
The lawsuit continued, “Plaintiff and other IBPs are not engaged in independent businesses. Rather, plaintiff and IBPs generally work exclusively for defendants, and (where applicable) their associated corporate entities generally exist for the sole purpose of working for defendants. In fact, plaintiff and other IBPs are prohibited from performing any similar delivery work for another company.
“Defendants exercise virtually unlimited control over plaintiff’s and IBP’s work, dictating all prices, requiring plaintiff and IBPs to deliver to stores that are not profitable, employing supervisors who travel to stores in plaintiff’s territories to review their work, and threatening to terminate plaintiff and IBPs whose work does not satisfy defendants’ standards.”
Mr. Roberts and the other plaintiffs in the lawsuits are seeking reimbursement for overtime pay, saying Bimbo violated the Fair Labor Standards Act that requires that employees receive overtime premium compensation calculated at 150% of their regular pay rate for all hours worked over 40 per week.
“Defendants are employers required to comply with the FLSA’s overtime pay mandate, and plaintiff is an employee entitled to the mandate’s protections,” Mr. Roberts lawsuit said.
Bimbo has not commented on the lawsuits.