The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is overwhelmed with reports of overtime violations in the oilfields. Since 2012, more than 1,100 investigations of oil and gas employers have recovered more than $40 million for more than 29,000 workers nationally. The applicable statute governing these types of investigations is the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which provides that “no employer shall employ any of its employees… for a workweek longer than forty hours unless such employee receives compensation for his employment in excess of the hours above specified at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of which he is employed.” 29 U.S.C. § 207(a)(1).
The FLSA requires that nonexempt employees be paid the applicable minimum wage per hour for all hours worked, plus overtime, including bonuses or any incentive pays as well. The FLSA further provides an exemption from both minimum wage and overtime pay requirements for individuals who meet an exemption, specifically an executive, administrative or professional exemption. To qualify for an exemption, employees must meet certain job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. For more information on the exemptions, please visit our blog post here. Simply put, paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime pay.
The oil and gas industry is like the wild west – many sizable companies do not even have an HR compliance employee, much less an HR department that would be responsible for determining compliance with the overtime laws. Given the widespread violations of the FLSA, the DOL was prompted to conduct education and enforcement initiatives to improve compliance in the oil and gas industry. And still, the violations continue and the DOL does not have the time, resources or manpower to investigate all of them. But workers can also hire a private attorney to pursue their overtime claims. If you are an oilfield worker who has been denied your rightful overtime pay, consider speaking with an overtime attorney today. Josh Borsellino is an experienced unpaid overtime attorney who fights for the rights of workers. He works on a contingency fee basis meaning that you owe him nothing unless there is a recovery. Call him today at 817.908.9861 or 432.242.7118.