Toledo Legal News - News Drivers say they're not sales people, sue Nickles Bakery for overtime pay


Companies using outdated job titles for delivery drivers could face lawsuits seeking proper compensation for overtime wages and now it's happening in Ohio.

A collective-action lawsuit by route drivers working for Alfred Nickles Bakery, based in Stark County, is expected to go to trial following a judge's decision to deny a motion by the company to stop it.

Nilges Draher LLC will represent the drivers.

Nearly 70 drivers have joined the suit, originally filed by Jeff Twiddy Sr.

The suit claims that route drivers are misclassified by Nickles as outside sales workers since the drivers do not perform any sales functions.

This misclassification benefits Nickles, as the positions are exempt from overtime via the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

Since drivers do not make sales, the act requires Nickles to pay overtime for any hours exceeding 40 per week, which they currently fail to pay.

"Classifying route drivers as sales workers is a holdover from a time long past and is a misrepresentation of their current role," said attorney Hans Nilges. "All Nickles route drivers should, by law, be paid for overtime work and deserve to receive appropriate compensation."

Similar cases were settled recently in favor of route drivers claiming they were also owed overtime.

Utz Quality Foods Inc. agreed to pay $2.5 million, Flowers Foods (Wonder Bread) agreed to pay $9 million and Herr Foods agreed to pay $2 million in settlements.

"The industries employing route salespersons haven't responded to the changes in responsibilities of those delivering products," said Nilges. "There are, we believe, hundreds of companies that are not compensating employees properly. We think this suit will be a big win for our clients and look forward to resolving this case through a settlement or successful jury trial."

No date has been set for the trial as of publication.

ELISSA COLLOPY, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

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