Over 100 current and former mud logging technicians (mud loggers) employed by New Mexico based Morco Geological stand to share in the $595,737 in back wages the company has agreed to pay to compensate for violations of the minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The company provides mud logging services for oil and gas drilling companies.

The claims, in this case, arose out of the improper classification of mud logging technicians as exempt from the overtime pay laws. Instead of being classified as nonexempt, mud loggers were treated as exempt from overtime pay and paid a fixed day rate, with no overtime premium for hours worked over 40 per week.

Despite years of successful lawsuits that have recovered millions of dollars in unpaid overtime wages for those working oilfield jobs paid on a day-rate with no overtime compensation (including top drive technicians, inspectors, operators, tankermen and others) an alarming number of oilfield-related employers continue to mistakenly think that they don’t have to pay overtime to their day rate employees. While paying a day rate is legal, it does not mean overtime isn’t legally owed – it merely calls for a different method of calculating overtime pay. “These mud logging technicians worked 24-hour shifts, often up to 100 hours in a workweek, performing physically and mentally demanding work. They were denied the basic minimum wage and overtime pay guaranteed them by law for their hard work,” said Cynthia Watson. “These violations reflect one of the problems we’ve found in the oil and gas extraction industry—employees are improperly classified as exempt from the FLSA and are not paid the proper wages, in accordance with federal law.”

In recent years, the federal government and private wage and hour attorneys such as those at The Lore Law Firm have increased their focus on potential overtime pay violations by vendors (including staffing agencies) who provide a variety of services to the oil and gas fracking operations at shale drilling sites throughout the country. These unlawful overtime pay practices appear in all of the major U.S. shale gas plays, including, Barnett Shale (Texas), Bakken Shale (Montana, North Dakota and Montana), Haynesville Shale (North Louisiana, North Texas, and South Arkansas), Marcellous Shale (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New York, and Ohio), Woodford Shale (Oklahoma), 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).

Because of the strict time limits that apply to claims to recover unpaid overtime, procrastination can be costly. Do not rely on your boss or Human Resources for this critical information.

If you have any doubts as to your entitlement to overtime, contact the overtime pay experts at The Lore Law Firm for a free and confidential review. Call 1-866-559-0400, email mlore@overtime-flsa.com or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances, because time is money.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.