A Houston based company that provides services to the oil industry was sued by the Department of Labor for approximately $1 million worth of unpaid wages and overtime.
Large oil services firm took measures to avoid proper payments
The wide reaching lawsuit covers violations related to approximately 4500 workers in various roles from administrators to laborers and engineers. The main impetus for the investigation was complaints that Kinder Morgan had not been paying workers proper overtime wages.
A statement from the Secretary of Labor summarized the situation. She said that there was no excuse for the firm’s behavior, and the government plans on using all of its investigating and litigation resources to make sure the problem is solved correctly and all wages are accounted for. The lawsuit alleges that there were systemic violations, mostly related to not keeping records or paying overtime, as well as bonuses or other payments that were either denied or never paid. The case was filed in the federal district court that sits in Houston.
According to federal law, all workers who were affected should have been paid at least minimum wage, along with additional overtime that is at least one and a half times that amount if they worked more than 40 hours per week. The payroll and time records for Kinder Morgan were found to be deficient in various ways, and there were other incentives that should have been paid, but never were.
A response from Kinder Morgan seemed to slam the government’s efforts as unnecessary, and they denied any wrongdoing. They claim that the case is actually about a form of discretionary incentive paid and not widespread wage violations. The firm says that the government has simplified the case to get more publicity and make them look bad. According to the statement, the case was “disappointing and unnecessary” because Kinder Morgan made reasonable efforts to cooperate with the government and resolve the matter without resorting to lawsuits or litigation. They further claim that they will vigorously defend themselves in court.
Unpaid wages are a violation of labor laws
Unfortunately, it is fairly common for companies to try to find various ways to underpay their workers. This can include everything from not keeping accurate records of how much each worker has done, or even expecting extra hours to be worked while providing nothing in return. Workers who are affected by these practices should retain an attorney and contact their local labor board.
Get assistance from a wage and employment attorney in your area
There are lawyers in Houston who assist people who have not been paid properly or mistreated by their employers in various other ways. To get more information, contact:
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675, Houston, TX 77002