ANOTHER ENERGY COMPANY HIT WITH OVERTIME PAY CLAIMS
Calculating Overtime PayPipeline company, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP and Kinder Morgan Inc., have been sued for allegedly failing to pay proper overtime wages to more than 4,500 of its employees. The claim involves the manner in which employees’ regular hourly rate of pay is determined and whether or not payments made under the company’s annual incentive plan should be included in the calculation.
Kinder Morgan doesn’t think so, but the Department of Labor takes a contrary view – asserting that bonuses that are related to meeting or exceeding production, efficiency or attendance goals must be included as part of a worker’s total compensation, which in turn is used to calculate the worker’s overtime pay rate. While certain types of discretionary bonuses are not required to be included in a worker’s regular rate of pay (eg. Christmas or Holiday bonuses), when an employer improperly excludes bonus payments, it reduces its employees’ overtime pay rates which can save the company significant amounts of money on payroll. Under federal wage and hour laws, if the employees were unlawfully shorted on their overtime payments, they could be entitled to recover double their back wages.