You began testing wells for this oil company about six months ago. Although your base pay is the best you’ve ever had, lately you’ve been noticing slight miscalculations in your overtime pay. Your first four checks were accurate, but ever since you completed training and began picking up more OT, your checks have been a little off. At first it was only by a few hours, but your last check had you working a mere six hours of overtime, when you know that you worked an additional two hours each day of those two weeks. Therefore, instead of a hour or two of lost wages, this check gipped you out of 20 hours of time and a half.
How could this happen?
You spoke to your boss and the payroll department about the discrepancy and they both told you they couldn’t do anything about it. The payroll department told you to speak to your boss, and your boss told you that he couldn’t verify that you had worked. You then spoke to a few co-workers and they told you that they were having similar problems.
What are you supposed to do? Should you refuse to work overtime until you’re paid? Is this just a fluke, or does this type of pay discrepancy happen often to oil workers?
Oil Industry Jobs Familiar With Negligent Overtime Pay
The Fair Labor Standards Act states that “covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per work week (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours—seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay.” Therefore, no matter what the reason, whether your employer demanded the OT, or that you work off the clock—as an employee you’re guaranteed proper overtime pay by federal law.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 215,000 individuals work in the oil industry in the United States. On a weekly basis, these employees average 46 hours of work. However, during peak periods where overtime is mandated, weekly hours can more than double, causing workers to put in close to 100 working hours in one week. As a result, oil industry workers should not be strangers to overtime pay. Unfortunately, due to shady employers, miscalculated checks, and lost timecards, many oil workers are missing out on earned OT wages. Some of these workers include, but aren’t limited to:
- Oilfield laborers
- Wireline operators
- Heavy motorized equipment operators
- Slashing and timber salvage workers
- Gathering systems and facility installers
- Camp catering workers
- First aid workers
- Safety workers
- Land survey workers
- Water truck operators
- Oilfield delivery specialists
- Tool pushers
- Treating specialists
- Equipment operators
- Maintenance technicians
- Well testers
- Instrument fitter
- Oil field inspectors
- Rig operators
- Directional drillers and pumpers
- Short-haul truckers (paid by the load, rather than by the hour, with no extra compensation for OT hours)
Remember, no matter what your job or title, if you work more than 40 hours a week, you may be eligible and entitled to overtime pay!
Making the List Doesn’t Mean You Shouldn’t Be Paid
Oil industry employers are quick to come up with lies, excuses, and tricks to distract their employees from noticing and fighting missing overtime pay. They will try to convince you that you’re not eligible for OT, or say that it will be on the next check (when you know better). Some employers will even go as far as to tell you that you didn’t accrue overtime because the extra time you spent working was “off-the-clock.” Don’t fall for these tricks. The United States Department of Labor guarantees that you’re paid for the hours you work, and we will fight to make sure that the government’s guarantee is upheld. If you believe that your employer is consistently and deliberately withholding earned overtime pay, contact us immediately. It’s our job to see through their charades, and to get you the pay and justice you’re owed. Call today and see how our experience can help you.
Share your stories and experiences with overtime neglect in the comment section below. You’re not the only one who has been taken advantage of by a big oil corporation. By sharing your thoughts, you can help others like yourself get the support, information, camaraderie, and courage they need to fight back.