In the wake of the BP oil disaster, some compensation methods of oil and gas companies have come under heightened scrutiny. One of these practices is when companies pay engineers or workers “day rates,” which is when employees are paid a certain amount per day disregarding the number of hours worked. Despite this, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that any non-exempt employee who works over 40 hours in a week be paid time-and-a -half for every overtime hour. According to recent reports, this is a standard that some companies are alleged to have failed to uphold.
In addition to non-exempt employees being denied overtime pay, other employees are incorrectly labeled as exempt to avoid over time compensation.
Multiple lawsuits have already been filed on behalf of workers who have been unjustly denied overtime under the guise of day rate payment structures. In addition, some oil and gas companies have been accused of reducing day rate pay when less than a full day is worked and not paying workers for break times, both of which are against the FLSA. Oil and gas company workers in the following categories could possibly be eligible to receive back pay for unpaid overtime: water truck drivers; service supervisors; tankermen; tool pushers; field coordinators; field engineers; pipeline inspectors; pump and lease operators; top drive assistants; top drive technicians; top drive mechanics; and field office clerks.
Under the FLSA, employees are either defined as exempt or non-exempt. If an employee fulfills certain criteria, he or she may be considered an exempt employee and therefore ineligible for overtime pay and other benefits. There are many exemptions which may include executives and administrators, learned and creative professionals, farmworkers, employees in a seasonal recreational establishment, casual babysitters, and certain domestic service employees. Generally though, exemptions are reserved for those that perform administrative functions, defined by the Department of Labor (DOL) as exercising “discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance.” Every other employee is generally entitled to receive overtime compensation.
In addition to non-exempt employees being denied overtime pay, other employees are incorrectly labeled as exempt to avoid compensating them for overtime. If you believe that you or a loved one could possibly be being withheld overtime compensation or believe you may be misclassified, you could possibly enter into a lawsuit to recover back pay for unpaid overtime. Contact an experienced day rate overtime lawyer for a free consultation by completing the form on the right to see if you could be eligible to receive up to three years of back pay, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees.