May 21, 2019

Consumer News Independent Contractor Misclassification

Victory for Flowers Foods Distributors in Vermont and New England States

May 21, 2019 – Last week, a Vermont federal court granted class certification for distributors of Flowers Foods, CK Sales, and Lepage Bakeries in Vermont and several New England states. This is fourth class certification win for distributor-drivers represented by Wanta Thome Jozwiak and Wanta LLP, who serve as Lead Class Counsel in six wage and hour cases against Flowers Foods and its subsidiaries (see previous articles on lawsuits in Maine, North Carolina, and a joint lawsuit that includes Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey). Cases brought in Arizona and North Carolina have already reached settlement. A separate case in North Carolina (Rosinbaum v. Flowers Foods) was granted conditional class certification in 2017 and arguments for class certification are pending.

Neff v. Flowers Foods, Inc., CK Sales Co., LLC., and Lepage Bakeries Park Street, LLC, is a class action lawsuit venued in the United States District Court of Vermont and brought on behalf of a class of individuals who operate(d) as fresh bakery product distributors for Defendants. Flowers Foods is the second largest commercial bakery company in the United States. The companies jointly employ “distributors” to deliver bakery and snack food to their customers, which include grocery stores, mass retailers, and fast food chains. This action challenges both the classification of distributors as independent contractors and Defendants’ denial to Plaintiffs and the class members of the rights, obligations, privileges, and benefits owed to them as employees (including overtime and other benefits.) Plaintiffs allege violations of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and related state laws.

In its order, the court held that: 1) Defendants’ motion to decertify the FLSA class of drivers in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and portions of New York was denied; and 2) Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings with respect to the Vermont state laws was denied. The court’s order can be found below.

Shawn Wanta, Scott Moriarity, and others for their work on behalf of these distributors.

For questions about this lawsuit, or for questions about independent contractor misclassification, contact our class action attorneys. Wanta Thome PLC has represented hundreds of workers and recovered millions of dollars in class action lawsuits alleging misclassification of independent contractors.

Order granting class certification in Neff v. Flowers Foods, Inc. et al.