Federal lawsuit filed against Cousin Vinny’s Pizza

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A federal lawsuit has been filed against a local pizza company after an employee says he wasn’t paid fairly.

Riverside resident, Thomas Brandenburg worked for the Cousin Vinny’s Pizza restaurant in Huber Heights for nearly two years as a delivery driver. He says at times, he wasn’t making minimum wage, which is $8.15 in Ohio.

“I enjoyed the job of pizza delivering. I get to meet people under happy circumstances,” said Brandenburg.

Brandenburg was making $6.50 an hour, plus tips and a delivery fee. However, sometimes he says when there were no deliveries to be made he would work inside the store. During that time, he says his wage was never increased.

The attorney representing Cousin Vinny’s, Samir Dahman said, “Cousin Vinny’s has gone out of its way to make sure everyone is fairly compensated.”

Brandenburg says in addition to his $6.50 wage, he would get tips plus a one dollar delivery fee, no matter how far the trip was. Both sides acknowledge at times Brandenburg would have to drive to New Carlisle, about a 10 mile trip. Dahman says Brandenburg was compensated a total of $3 in delivery fees for the longer trips, but Brandenburg says that’s not true.

“We paid our own gasoline, our own automotive repairs, tires, oil changes, things of that nature. It never covered the cost of operating a vehicle for the company,” said Brandenburg.

“For the longer trips he would get an extra two dollars in delivery fees. So, that’s $6.50, plus a dollar, plus the extra two dollars, that’s $9.50, plus tips,” said Dahman.

2 NEWS reporter, Maytal Levi asked Brandenburg, “What is fair?”. He responded, “That’s a good question. I’m not sure, but we have laws in America, people rely on those laws.”

Dahman says big box pizza companies are more equipped for lawsuits like this and says it could be costly for Cousin Vinny’s.

“We just want to get back to delivering good, affordable late-night pizza to the Dayton area,” said Dahman.

Brandenburg is being represented by Andrew Kimble, a Dayton native with Markovits, Stock & DeMarco LLC. Kimble filed the case as a class action lawsuit, meaning he believes other employees might be in the same situation as Brandenburg. The judge has yet to certify that paperwork.

There are 17 Cousin Vinny’s Pizza restaurants throughout Ohio, Indiana and Virginia.

2 NEWS will update the story as details develop.

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