Dashed faces lawsuit over independent contractor issue

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Two Boston lawyers are suing Dashed Inc., accusing the Boston-based restaurant delivery service of inappropriately classifying its drivers as independent contractors.

As a result, the lawyers claim, the drivers are denied overtime, vehicle expenses, and a guaranteed minimum wage.

Michael Bace and John Bita filed the lawsuit this week in Suffolk Superior Court, on behalf of Boston resident Felicia Billingslea, a former Dashed driver.

Dashed drivers are not paid a traditional wage from the company, but can get the tips that customers add to restaurant bills, either through cash or credit-card transactions, according to the lawsuit. Dashed promises to guarantee at least $8 per delivery but the structure of the payment system often leaves drivers with less money for each trip, and drivers often earn less than $9 per hour, according to the lawsuit. They also can work more than 40 hours a week but are not paid an overtime rate for those additional hours.

The lawsuit, which seeks class action status, claims that Dashed has employed more than 100 people as delivery drivers.

The case is similar to a class-action lawsuit against popular ride-sharing company Uber, whose drivers have also been categorized as independent contractors, filed in Uber’s home state of California. Boston lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan is representing plaintiffs in that case.

“These ‘apps’ and startup on-demand companies provide a fun and convenient service, but it’s not fun to be a driver earning less than minimum wage, and having to pay for all your car-related expenses,” Bita said in a prepared statement.

Dashed Inc. President Phil Dumontet said in an e-mail that the company is aware of the litigation and intends to “put forth a vigorous defense.”