Employees in the oilfield who work more than 40 hours a week often find that their employers do not pay overtime as required by law. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the federal law that requires employers to pay employees who work more than 40 hours in a week time and a half pay for overtime hours. Oil and gas companies often break this law to avoid paying overtime. If this has happened to you and you need sound legal help, reach out to a seasoned Texas oilfield worker overtime lawyer at Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers. You do not have to still be employed by the company to bring a claim for unpaid overtime.
Should I Get Overtime Pay?
If you are an oil and gas worker, you may be paid by the hour, a day-rate, a salary, or some combination of the three. Many employers fail to pay overtime or fail to calculate overtime pay correctly. Companies that illegally fail to pay these workers overtime may be responsible for paying two times the amount of past unpaid overtime to workers they didn’t pay properly, as well as reasonable attorney fees. You can make a claim for unpaid or underpaid wages you earned during the past two, or sometimes three, years.
Oilfield Overtime Wage Violations in Texas
While some companies may not understand the wage laws that apply to oil and gas workers, other employers may be guilty of deliberate overtime violations. Employers may avoid paying the right overtime rate by failing to include non-discretionary bonuses and other kinds of compensation. For example, oilfield workers are sometimes paid field, production, safety, and attendance bonuses on top of their regular pay rate. If a company ignores this compensation when calculating overtime pay, it could result in an overtime pay violation.
Another common way in which oil and gas companies shortchange their workers is by misclassifying workers as independent contractors. Federal overtime law does not cover independent contractors. Even if the company has classified you as an independent contractor and you signed an agreement stating that you are an independent contractor, you may be entitled to overtime pay.
If your company says that you are an independent contractor, it could be wrong. Talk to a Texas oilfield worker overtime lawyer to find out what your employment status is within a company. Other examples of oil and gas field overtime violations involve more blatant payroll discrepancies, such as intentionally failing to include overtime hours on a paycheck, docking time for short breaks, automatically deducting time for meal breaks not taken, failing to pay work-related travel, and other ways of shorting employees on overtime pay.
How to File a Claim as an Underpaid Oil and Gas Field Worker
If you believe your employer has shorted you on your overtime pay – either by mistake or on purpose – you can take legal action. Federal laws make it illegal for a company to retaliate against an employee who speaks out about illegal pay.
If your employer fails to pay you overtime that you are entitled to receive, you have the right to make a claim for the money you should have been paid and for liquidated damages and attorney fees and costs. To learn more about your rights as an oil and gas worker and how to seek fair compensation, contact Ross • Scalise Employment Lawyers to get in touch with a skilled overtime lawyer.