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Misclassification Among Oilfield Workers

By   |  Day Rate Workers, Oil & Gas  |  No Comments  |  Posted on August 01, 2014  


With thousands of new jobs being created every year within the oil and gas industry, the economy has received a much needed boost from the booming success of this field in states such as Nevada, Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Ohio, and Louisiana. This growth has led many new employees to flock to oil fields across the country, but unfortunately some of these workers have been mistreated through misclassifications that cost them their rightfully due wages. Misclassification among oilfield workers is a common problem.

Types of Workers Who are Often Misclassified as Independent Contractors

Practically any employee can suffer through misclassification of their job title, but some workers in particular are susceptible to this treatment in the oil industry, such as:

  • MWD Drillers
  • LWD Drillers
  • Grease Operators
  • Crane Operators
  • Directional Drillers
  • Coil Tubing Operators
  • Sand Coordinators
  • Solids Operators

When these workers are mistakenly classified as independent contractors, they may be wrongfully denied lawful wages or benefits, such as overtime hours or paid leave. The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that this type of misclassification is an alarming trend among oil and gas industry businesses. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a worker is considered an employee if they can control what needs to be done and how it is completed at their workplace. An independent contractor does not contribute to what needs to be done and is instructed on exactly what tasks to complete. This distinction can be difficult to determine, but it is important to ensure that each employee is correctly categorized and compensated.

Falsely Labeled as Management

Another way in which workers may be mislabeled includes being titled as a member of management, such as a supervisor, director, or assistant manager while being denied the responsibilities that come with this position. In this capacity, employers can deny overtime pay to “managers” who work long hours while still fulfilling the same tasks as before the alleged promotion.

Categorization of this kind is not legal, and many companies have been held liable for dishonestly labeling their workers. In 2011, Oilfield Drilling Equipment & Rig Co. (ODERCO) agreed to pay over $130,000 in back wages to workers who had been misclassified as independent contractors. Since that case, many businesses have reached similar agreements with the Department of Labor, paying its current and former employees properly.

Misclassification Among Oilfield Workers

Josephson Dunlap LLP is currently seeking to file misclassification claims against over a dozen companies, including Precision Directional Services, Inc., Leam Drilling Systems, LLC, Archer Drilling, LLC, and A.P. Lenard, LLC. If you have been denied rightful wages or other benefits in the oil industry through a misclassification of your job position, you can turn to the successful employment law attorneys at Josephson Dunlap LLP for help in gaining the compensation that you are rightfully due. Contact us today.

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