The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) is a division of the Department of Labor that focuses on minimum wage and overtime. The FLSA provides that nonexempt workers must receive overtime pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate of not less than time and one-half the regular rates of pay. The policy surrounding this rule is that employees should be compensated additionally for hours worked above the standard workweek of 40 hours. Some employees are exempt from overtime pay, but these exemptions are generally tough for employers to satisfy, particularly for those who perform manual labor. For more information concerning the exemptions, see our blog post here. The FLSA also provides a federal statute for minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. At Borsellino, P.C., we focus on enforcing the FLSA and state labor laws for unpaid overtime claims by those in the oil and gas industry.
Often times, oilfield companies classify their workers as independent contractors in order to avoid having to pay workers’ compensation, employment taxes, benefits and overtime. Among the many potential problems this practice raises is that it is often a violation of the FLSA. Often times, we get calls from workers that want to know whether they are entitled to receive overtime compensation for their time and labor. Accordingly, the workers may want to see if they are able to file a lawsuit that alleges they have been denied overtime pay and minimum wage as is required under federal law. Oilfield workers who allege they have been misclassified generally argue that their schedules were set by their employer; they were unable to accept or reject certain assignments; they had to perform the job that they are told to perform; and that, more generally, the company that they worked for exercised control over them in a way that was consistent with an employer-employee relationship.
To understand some of the more common examples of what distinguishes independent contractors from employees, see our blog post here.
The FLSA is an employee-friendly statute that aims to make sure workers are properly and fairly compensated for their work. Employers who blatantly skirt the FLSA’s laws and regulations often find themselves paying significant sums of money to repay their workers. In the oil and gas context, working long hours could be considered the norm so it is important that all workers understand their legal rights to overtime pay.
If you are an oilfield worker who believes has been denied minimum wage and/or overtime pay, consider speaking with an experienced FLSA attorney today to learn your rights. Josh Borsellino is a Texas attorney who fights for the rights of workers in the oil and gas industry. He offers free consultations and 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.