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Answering Your Oilfield Overtime Questions

I am oilfield overtime attorney Josh Borsellino. I represent oil and gas workers suing for unpaid overtime.  I frequently receive questions from oilfield workers who have been denied overtime pay.  This article will attempt to answer some of those questions.  

Do oil rig workers get overtime?  

It depends on the company and on the position, but most oil rig workers should be paid overtime.  Over the past 5 years, oilfield service companies and E&P companies have been sued frequently for overtime violations.  As a result, companies in the oil and gas industry have had to make a choice – begin paying their workers overtime, or get more creative as to how they deny them overtime pay. An increasing trend in the oilfields is the use of consulting firms, where a service provider or producer will hire many of its rig workers through a consulting company, which classifies its workers as independent contractors.  This is done to avoid paying overtime.  This practice is often illegal.  At the end of the day, most oilfield workers are due overtime pay. If you work or have worked in the oilfields and have been denied overtime pay, you should speak with an experienced overtime attorney as soon as possible to learn of your legal rights, as you may be able to file suit to recover unpaid overtime for the work you have done for a current or former employer.  

Are employees that work in the oil industry exempt from overtime pay?  

There are certain exemptions under the FLSA, but they do not commonly apply to those working in the oilfields.  If you are an oilfield worker and are told by your employer (or were told by a former employer) that you are exempt from overtime pay, visit with an overtime attorney and ask if you have a potential claim for overtime.  

How far back can I sue for overtime?  

Under the federal overtime statute, a worker can always go two years back from the date he or she files suit.  The worker can go back an additional third year if the worker can show that the employer willfully violated federal overtime law.  Some states have their own overtime laws, and these may have different statutes of limitations.  For example, under the New Mexico overtime statute, a worker can go back three years, or longer if the worker shows that the company engaged in a continuing violation.  The NMMWA provides that “[a] civil action to enforce any provision of [the NMMWA] may encompass all violations that occurred as part of a continuing course of conduct regardless of the date on which they occurred.” NMSA 1978 §§ 37-1-5; 50-4-32.  

Is anything over 40 hours considered overtime?  

Yes, workers who work more than 40 hours in a week are working overtime.  Some employers try to force workers to take time off one week to balance out the overtime that was worked in another week.  This typically violated federal law.  

Is overtime based on 40 or 80 hours?  

Overtime is based on the number of hours worked in a week (i.e. a seven day period).  The employer can choose when its workweek begins, as long as it does so consistently.  The employer can allow the workweek to begin on any day of the week.  For example, a workweek can run Sunday through Saturday or Monday through Sunday, as long as this is consistent.  

If you have other questions about overtime pay, call oilfield overtime attorney Josh Borsellino today at 817.908.9861 or email him through this link for a consultation.  Consultations are free and confidential. If Josh determines that a worker has a claim for unpaid overtime, he handles such cases on a contingency basis, meaning that he charges no fee unless there is a recovery, and in such case his fees are paid out of the money recovered from the employer.    

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