Whether oilfield workers are owed overtime pay, and if so how much, are serious legal issues these days. Many oil and gas workers get cheated out of their rightful overtime pay from their employer. How does this happen? The question that often arises from these workers is how can the employer not pay the appropriate amount to their workers? Far too often, oil and gas companies misclassify the working status of their workers in order to avoid having to pay them overtime. If employers only pay for the forty hours worked each week, any work done above that forty would be free labor, something that employers tend to cash in on.
The statute governing overtime pay is the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which requires employers to pay its employees at a rate of at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for all hours worked above forty in a workweek. Under this federal law, unpaid overtime violations allow employers to seek back payment for two years, or three years if the employee can show a willful violation by the employer. Liquidated damages are also available to the oilfield workers, which are equal to the full value of the unpaid overtime amount. Attorney’s fees and costs are also paid to the oilfield worker if the oilfield worker wins.
Back in 2015, Halliburton, one of the largest oil and gas service providers in the world, was required to pay $18.3 million dollars to more than 1,000 oil and gas workers. Halliburton was found to have improperly classified 28 job positions as overtime exempt, meaning that they did not provide these workers overtime pay. The positions were salaried positions including, but not limited to, field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists, and reliability technician specialists.
The case, Blake Campbell, et al. v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc. was filed as a class action lawsuit with more than 1,000 class members across the United States. A settlement was reached through private arbitration. The arbitrator found that Halliburton failed to keep accurate records of their employees’ work hours so keeping track of the hours worked by their employers was virtually impossible. Halliburton denied any wrongdoing, saying that they had proper documentation showing that the overtime was properly accounted for, but they agreed to settle the case outside court in order to avoid having to potentially pay more.
It is important to understand the implications that can arise if an oilfield worker is misclassified. Are you an oilfield worker who has not received their rightful overtime pay? Have you been paid a salary or day rate within the past three years? Have you only been paid half time, or, worse, not been paid at all for your overtime? Have you been denied overtime pay for drive time, shop time or training time? If so, you may have a claim to recover your unpaid overtime. Speak with an experienced overtime attorney today and learn your rights. Josh Borsellino is an experienced overtime attorney that workers for the rights of oilfield workers. Call him today at 817.908.9861 or 432.242.7118.