By: Christina Fabugais
A large oil and gas equipment manufacturer based in Houston was found recently investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, and was found in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provision. The investigation was conducted by the division’s Houston District Office, which deemed that the manufacturer misclassified their roughnecks and crane operators as independent contractors. The company denied the workers their time and one-half overtime rate for hours worked in excess of 40 in a week. Some of these misclassified workers worked as many as 80 hours a week, without overtime pay as per the requirements of the FLSA.
“The misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a serious threat to both workers, who are entitled to good and safe jobs, and to employers who obey the law and are undercut when others use illegal practices” said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator for Southwest. “The department is committed to remedying employee misclassification, which is a problem we commonly come across in the oil and gas industry. It often results in employees being denied their proper wages.”
The company has been required to pay $687,469 in overtime back wages for 133 misclassified workers.
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