When oil prices are high, it is often the result of increased demand. As a result, many people are hired to handle the increased workload created by the demand. Those employees often work long hours, based on the assumption that they will be compensated for their hours, but many later find they did not receive all the money they deserved. A group of past and present workers from Texas-based Halliburton is accusing the company of wage and hour violations because they were denied overtime pay.
The U.S. Department of Labor began investigating oil and gas companies over the past several years. It was discovered that Halliburton had apparently misclassified a group of workers as exempt. This prevented those workers from being paid overtime when they worked more than 40 hours in a week. The misclassification was also a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Many of the workers may not have realized that they were being underpaid. Because of the sheer amount of work done and the number of hours they worked, the employees had large pay checks, but they apparently should have been bigger. After Halliburton conducted a self-audit, it determined which positions were improperly classified and corrected the errors. In a statement, the company said that it is cooperating with the DOL to rectify the situation.
Halliburton will be paying the more than 1,000 affected employees a total of $18 million over the course of the next two years. This is one of the largest findings for a single company in history and more than twice what was paid out by all Texas-based companies for wage and hour violations over the last 10 years. Oil and gas companies are notoriously known for failing to properly compensate workers for overtime hours, and more than $32 million has been paid out across the nation over the last 10 years.
Source: insideenergy.com, "Halliburton Violates Overtime Laws, Owes $18 Million", Dan Boyce, Sept. 26, 2015