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Oilfield Workers and Overtime Law

By   |  Oil & Gas  |  No Comments  |  Posted on September 19, 2014  


Oilfield workers are known for pulling long hours and tiring shifts. The industry employees a range of workers, from drillers to engineers, accountants to managers, and even dockworkers and truck drivers. All of these roles perform essential tasks in providing the country with crude oil and other resources that keep our society running and these workers are protected by Overtime Law.

Unfortunately, the long hours these workers face are not always rewarded as they should be. While a normal work week consists of 40 total hours, many oilfield workers put in far more than this. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act(FLSA), all workers are to be paid an overtime rate of 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for hours over 40 that are worked in one week. There are some exemptions to this law, but the FLSA carefully defines these exceptions to include roles such as administrative duties that do not consist of repeating the same tasks daily.

Many oilfield workers are denied their rightful overtime pay, but this can occur through a number of scenarios.

Denial of Overtime Pay, Violation of Overtime Law

Misclassification: A worker could be labeled as an administrator, and thus exempt from overtime requirements, even though they do not perform managerial tasks. The U.S. Department of Labor provides a detailed list of workers who are exempt from overtime laws.

Day-rate pay: Also known as per-shift, or flat-rate pay, some employers elect to compensate their workers a set amount for a day of work. However, this does not exclude these workers from overtime compensation. For instance, if a worker is paid $100 for a day of work, but works 4 12-hour shifts in one week, for a total of 48 hours, the worker must be paid at an overtime rate for the extra 8 hours of work.

Salary: Although many worker who are lawfully exempt from overtime are paid on a salaried basis, this does not mean that a salary automatically excludes a worker from overtime pay. If a worker performs the same tasks everyday, such as an inspector or engineer, they may still be entitled to overtime pay. This definition is sometimes debated in court, but an attorney can review your role and advise you on whether you should be receiving overtime pay.

Legal Counsel for Oilfield Workers Denied Overtime

If you are legally owed overtime, but your employer refuses to obey Federal law, you may be able to seek compensation in Court. Even if you have recently started being paid for overtime, you may be owed back wages for overtime pay that you should have been collecting all along. The attorneys of  Josephson Dunlap LLP can help you determine if your employer owed you unpaid wages, and they can confidently help you seek out this compensation.

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