On March 27, 2015, a Fifth Circuit issued a ruling that is being viewed as a big win for employees in the oil and gas industry seeking fair pay and overtime compensation. The court ruled that marine superintendents at a petroleum shipping loss-control company were not exempt from overtime compensation under the administrative exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The employees, Vasilios Zannikos, James Cormier, and William Cormier, were all represented by attorney Galvin Kennedy of Kennedy Hodges, LLP.
Job Duties of Marine Superintendents Do Not Exempt Them From Overtime Pay
Each of the three employees were employed by Oil Inspections (USA) Inc. The company oversees and monitors oil transfers in order to ensure that they are compliant with legal standards. The company denied its marine superintendents overtime pay, claiming they were exempt under the administrative exemption of the FLSA. In support of its argument that the workers were exempt, the company alleged the following:
- The marine superintendents interpreted and implemented management policies
- The marine superintendents carried out major assignments
- The marine superintendents performed work that affected business operations
The employees, however, countered that their primary responsibilities did not require them to exercise discretion or independent judgment in significant matters. The responsibilities of marine superintendents working for Oil Inspections, Inc. include the following:
- Observing oil transfers to ensure that they are accurate, legal, and safe
- Monitoring cargo loading and unloading
- Reporting errors or losses
- Monitoring compliance with safety standards
- Inspecting equipment
- Recommending policies
Fortunately for the marine superintendents, the court on Friday agreed with their position and ruled that they are not exempt from overtime pay under the administrative exemption. The ruling is a significant victory for employees in this industry. This is the first case to directly address the non-exempt status of marine superintendents.
If your employer wrongfully denied you compensation, it is important to take action quickly. Strict time limitations are imposed on an employee’s ability to pursue a claim for failure to pay overtime compensation. We have helped countless clients obtain the compensation that they deserve, and we can help you too. We encourage you to contact us today at 888-449-2068 for more information.