HOUSTON, Texas. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers are entitled to a 40-hour workweek and are entitled to receive overtime pay when their employers ask or require them to exceed the 40 hour limit. Yet, on oilfields in Texas and elsewhere, oil companies may be using accounting strategies to avoid paying workers the salaries they may deserve. According to ProPublica, oilfield workers may be underpaid by companies that are intentionally misclassifying workers, allowing the companies to deny workers overtime pay, access to unemployment insurance, and medical leave. For workers in dangerous oilfield jobs, denial of these benefits can have a major impact on workers if they are injured. Worse, if workers put in long workweeks, they may be losing out on overtime pay, which could make a significant difference in their paycheck. As the oil industry changes and many smaller companies work on one single oil rig, workers may be wrongfully classified as independent contractors. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers may be due as much as $13 million in back wages due to worker misclassification.
Workers may put in long, sometimes 12 hour-long shifts, 7 days a week and not get paid the overtime labor they put in. So, what can you do if you believe you are owed overtime pay? Wage and hour disputes are on the rise and more workers are seeking back pay through lawsuits. According to Moore & Associates, Houston, Texas employment law attorneys, most workers are entitled to time and a half pay for any time worked beyond a 40 hour workweek. If you are not getting paid time and a half and are putting in long hours, you may want to speak to an employment lawyer to see whether you may be entitled to receive back pay. Our firm can review your employment classification and determine whether you were unfairly classified by your employer.
According to the Dallas Morning News, truck drivers also pursued lawsuits when they were made to wait long hours without pay for their trucks to reach their job site. Workers who were made to wait and who were then also not paid for their overtime were later able to sue their employers for their unpaid overtime. In fact, the practice of failing to pay workers for their overtime is so prevalent that wage and hour lawsuits have tripled in the last ten years, according to the Dallas Morning News.
As more workers become aware of their rights, wage and hour disputes are likely to increase. Unfortunately, when workers aren’t aware of their legal rights, they may find themselves cheated out of thousands, and in some cases, tens of thousands of dollars.
If you believe your rights have been violated, it is important to act quickly. Moore & Associates help oilfield workers seek overtime pay and compensation for the hours they have worked in Houston, Texas.