overtime lawyer for oilfield workers who are denied overtime

Overtime Pay Attorney for Gas and Oil Workers

Over the past several years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against oilfield service companies, their subcontractors, and staffing agencies, by workers seeking to recover unpaid back overtime pay. These claims have focused primarily on workers who were paid a day-rate or hourly with straight time for overtime – although certain salaried workers will also have valid claims. Claims for unpaid overtime are still being investigated on behalf of these and similar workers throughout the oilfield services industry. The following are a few of the oil and gas industry jobs that are being investigated for potential wage and hour law violations:

Overtime Lawyer For Oil & Gas Industry

  1. Pipeline Inspectors
  2. Top Drive Technicians
  3. Top Drive Mechanics
  4. Closed Loop Operators
  5. Service Supervisors
  6. Pumpers and Lease Operators
  7. Field Coordinators
  8. MWD/LWD Engineer or Operator
  1. Field Specialists
  2. Field Engineers
  3. Field Operators
  4. Tool Pushers
  5. Mud Loggers / Solids Control
  6. Tankermen / Tankerman
  7. Wireline / Slickline Operators
  8. Directional Driller

Oilfield and gas technical services workers are often required to work well over 40 hours a week, frequently over 100 hours per week, but are not paid overtime compensation as required by federal labor laws for this mandatory overtime work. While The Fair Labor Standards Act does not prohibit energy service companies from forcing their employees to work large amounts of overtime, it does require that they pay overtime to non-exempt hourly, day-rate, and salaried employees who work more than 40 hours per week at a rate equal to one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay. Being forced to work long hours can also result in worker fatigue and an increase in serious injuries to oilfield employees.

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Oil & Gas Day Rate Labor Laws

One issue involved in some of these cases is whether the day-rate method of paying employees met the standards required by federal labor law. Where employees’ wages are reduced when the employee worked less than a full day, courts have found that an employer did not have a valid day-rate plan and therefore their failure to pay employees for time worked beyond forty hours per week violated the wage and hour laws. In the lawsuit filed against ENGlobal, the plaintiffs assert a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay its field service workers, who are paid using a day rate system, overtime when they work more than 40 hours in a week. While an employer is permitted to pay non-exempt employees on a day-rate basis, it must still pay such employees overtime compensation pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week.

Overtime Lawyer For Drilling Jobs

Many drilling-related employees impacted by these industry-wide compensation pay practices work in the major U.S. shale gas plays, namely, Barnett Shale (Texas), Fayetteville Shale (Arkansas), Bakken Shale (Montana and North Dakota), Haynesville Shale (North Louisiana, North Texas, and South Arkansas), Marcellous Shale (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, and Ohio), Woodford Shale (Oklahoma), Cotton Valley (North Texas and North Louisiana), Eagle Ford Shale (South Texas from Laredo to Houston), Niobrara Shale (Denver – Julesburg Basin in North Colorado, South Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas), Utica Shale (North New York State), and Piceance-Uinta (North Utah and North Colorado).

How do oil companies avoid paying overtime to oilfield workers?

Oil companies, like any other companies, are required by law to pay overtime to eligible employees. In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than one and one-half times their regular rates of pay. There are, however, certain exemptions to this rule, and some employers may attempt to use these to avoid paying overtime.

  1. Misclassification of Employees: Some companies might try to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees, or as exempt employees, to avoid paying overtime. Exempt employees typically have managerial, professional, or administrative roles, and their pay is not subject to overtime laws. Misclassification, however, is illegal and can result in penalties.
  2. Salary Basis Test: Some companies might pay a “salary” to non-exempt employees to try to avoid overtime. However, simply being paid on a salary basis does not make an employee exempt from overtime pay. It also depends on the nature of the work performed.
  3. Off-the-Clock Work: Some companies might ask or allow workers to work “off the clock,” meaning they perform duties before clocking in for their shift, after clocking out, or during their breaks. This practice is illegal if the employee is not compensated for these hours.
  4. Improper Calculation of Overtime Rate: Some companies might fail to include all compensation when calculating an employee’s regular rate of pay, which is used to determine their overtime rate. This could result in an employee receiving less overtime pay than they are legally entitled to.
  5. Use of the Fluctuating Workweek Method: This method allows an employer to pay a fixed salary to a non-exempt employee whose hours fluctuate from week to week. The employer then pays overtime at a half-time rate, rather than the typical time and a half. This method can only be used if certain conditions are met, and misuse can result in violations of overtime laws.

However, note that these practices can lead to lawsuits and significant penalties for companies. If an oilfield worker feels they have been unfairly denied overtime pay, they should seek legal counsel immediately. There have been thousands of cases brought against oil companies in recent years.

If you are a current or former oil and gas worker and believe that you may have a wage laws claim or would like to get more information, please call us at 1-866-559-0400, email us at mlore@overtime-flsa.com or submit your information using our convenient Chat Feature for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances.