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Overtime Investigations

Labor Laws Overtime imageOilfield and Energy Industry Workers Paid on a Day-Rate

We have been retained by hundreds of workers employed by oilfield service companies and other energy industry players who have for years been paid using a day-rate pay scheme that does not include premium pay for overtime hours. This practice is deep-rooted throughout the oil/energy business and deprives workers of millions of dollars per year in hard-earned overtime pay.

Our firm is actively pursuing and investigating day-rate claims on behalf of a wide variety of oil, gas, petrochemical and energy workers, including:

  • Field Engineers (MWD/LWD and others)
  • Solids Control Technicians / Mud Loggers
  • Closed Loop Operators
  • Inspectors (pipeline, electrical and others)
  • Equipment Operators
  • Service Technicians / Operators
  • Tankermen (vessel and shore)

Mechanical/Electrical/Structural Designers-Detailers-CAD Draftsmen

Mechanical/Electrical/Structural Designers-Detailers-CAD Draftsmen, employees who make fabrication drawings from information provided by engineers or other professionals, are generally not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements. While some employees doing this work are paid overtime, many are not. In some industries, such as the oil and gas industry, many employers pay employees in these positions on an hourly or salary basis and do not pay overtime, even though federal law requires that pay.

Mechanical/Electrical/Structural Designers-Detailers-CAD Draftsmen

Mechanical/Electrical/Structural Designers-Detailers-CAD Draftsmen, employees who make fabrication drawings from information provided by engineers or other professionals, are generally not exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act overtime requirements. While some employees doing this work are paid overtime, many are not. In some industries, such as the oil and gas industry, many employers pay employees in these positions on an hourly or salary basis and do not pay overtime, even though federal law requires overtime pay.

Computer / IT Workers Paid an Hourly Rate

While there is an exemption (exception) to the overtime pay regulations that covers certain computer employees and allows for the payment of an hourly wage without a premium for overtime, many employers apply this exemption too broadly in an effort to save on labor costs.

Workers who are not computer systems analysts, programmers, software engineers or performing similar work, are typically not covered by the computer professional exemption – meaning they are legally entitled to receive overtime pay even if their hourly rate exceeds $27.63.

Ongoing investigations relating to the misapplication of the computer professional exemption cover the following, and similar, jobs:

  • Help Desk / Tech Support
  • CAD Designers / Draftsmen
  • Network Cable Installer
INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

Overtime investigations have found that workers are frequently labeled and treated as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime, as well as minimum wage and employee benefits. The mere fact that an employer classifies an employee as an independent contractor and issues the worker a 1099 for the wages paid, does not necessarily mean that the worker is an independent contractor under state and/or federal overtime and minimum wage laws. The determination of whether a worker is an employee entitled to overtime is made based on the “economic reality” of the working relationship, not on labels, job titles, compensation arrangements, or agreements between the employer and the worker.

This type of misclassification is very common because employers fail to understand that it takes a lot more than a contract to make a worker an independent contractor. Independent contractor status does not depend upon the existence of a contract specifying that the worker is an independent contractor, but rather on the underlying nature of the work relationship. Some employers hire temporary workers and think that they are “contract labor” or “contract employees”, when in reality such terms are practically meaningless under wage and hour laws. If such workers are truly employees, and they work more than 40 hours in a workweek, the employer must pay them overtime pay if they do not qualify for some sort of overtime exemption. There is no way to contract around that; no piece of paper and no amount of explanation will overcome the evidence of an employment relationship.

The IRS formerly used the “Twenty Factor” test, but has recently attempted to simplify and refine the test, consolidating the twenty factors into eleven main tests, and organizing them into three main groups: behavioral control, financial control, and the type of relationship of the parties. Only when these factors and tests are applied, can a determination be made as to the true status of a worker.

CALIFORNIA LUNCH BREAKS AND OTHER PAID BREAKS

Under California state law, many workers are entitled to take uninterrupted half-hour lunch breaks and regular paid ten minute breaks during shifts of 3 ½ hours or more.

California employees covered by the rest period provisions of the California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders must be provided with a net 10-minute paid rest period for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof. Insofar as is practicable, the rest period should be in the middle of the work period. Net 10 minutes means that the rest period begins when the employee reaches an area away from the work area that is appropriate for rest. Employers are required to provide suitable resting facilities that are available for employees during working hours in an area separate from the toilet rooms.

California overtime law provides that employees who are not permitted to take the meal and rest periods provided for under California Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Order No. 5 must be paid one additional hour of pay for each day that the rest periods are not permitted, and one additional hour of pay for each day that the thirty minute meal periods are not taken. The firm is investigating California employers who do not provide employees with these legally required breaks.

The Supreme Court of California has ruled that there is a three (3) year statute of limitations for employees to recover for an employer’s failure to provide mandatory meal breaks or rest breaks.

If you believe that you may have a claim or would like to get more information, please call us at 713-782-LAW1 (5291) or 1-866-559-0400, email us at mlore@www.overtime-flsa.com or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form.

 

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  1. May we contact you by text message?
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  2. Do you work more than 40 hours a week?
    Yes  No

    Are you paid time and a half if you work more than 40 Hours a week?
    Yes  No
  3. How are you paid?


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