How OSHA Enforces the Fair Labor Standards Act

Working in the oil industry is hard. Going in you knew that you’d have to sacrifice a lot of time in exchange for an excellent wage ($40 an hour). However, you didn’t except that after working 60 to 80 hour weeks, you’d have to fight to get paid. Unfortunately, over the past few months, that’s exactly what you’ve been forced to do.

For the past six months or so, you’ve had several appointments with your boss, the payroll office, and human resources over the fact that your overtime pay has been and continues to be miscalculated. Instead of getting time and a half, your overtime hours are being paid at half your hourly rate. So, instead of being paid $60 per hour of overtime, you’re only getting paid $20 per hour. In addition to the gross pay decrease, the hours aren’t even being accurately counted. You average between 20 and 40 OT hours per paycheck, but you’re only getting paid for 10 of those hours.

Even more frustrating is that your boss isn’t doing anything to fix it. You’ve calculated that over the course of six months you have not been paid nearly $10,000, and all you’re getting from your boss is that “they’re working on it.”

Well, you’ve had it. They’re obviously not working on it as hard as you work for them. So what can you do? Your wife suggested that you contact OSHA in order to get the matter investigated, but what will that do? How does OSHA handle these types of investigations, and how will it help you get your money?

OT Fraud Investigation Procedures: Holding Your Employer Responsible

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) takes overtime fraud and the deliberate disregard of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) very seriously. The FLSA guarantees that workers not only receive fair wages, but that overtime pay should be given for any hours worked over a normal 40-hour work week, and should be paid as one and one-half times the worker’s regular hourly wage. If an employer is found to be fraudulently disregarding these mandates, he can be subject to investigations, fines, and legal ramifications.

As a result of an influx of gas and oil OT complaints, OSHA and the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor have been working to try and investigate the numerous oil and gas companies cited in order to make sure the FLSA overtime pay standards are being upheld.

These investigations consist of the following procedures:

Fact finding

  • Examination of employer and employee records to determine which laws or exemptions may apply. Some employees may be exempt from OT pay, while job classifications, job types, and employer profit may also determine legal exemptions from FLSA standards. Information from an employer or employee’s records will not be revealed to unauthorized persons.
  • Examination of payroll and time records and taking notes or making transcriptions or photocopies essential to the investigation.
  • Conducting private interviews with certain employees. These interviews allow verification of employer’s payroll and time records, sufficient detail of a worker’s particular duties to decide if exemptions apply, and confirmation of widespread overtime issues.

Negotiations

  • If violations have occurred or been discovered by the investigation, the investigator will speak directly to the employer or a company’s representative to discuss repercussions and commit the employer to corrective actions.
  • The employer will be told whether violations have occurred and, if so, what they are and how to correct them. If back wages are owed to employees, the investigator will request payment of back wages.

Fighting back

  • Employers may be represented by their accountants or attorneys and can present additional facts for consideration if violations were disclosed.
  • If the employer refuses to acknowledge the investigators findings, corrections, or requests, you have the opportunity to seek legal action against your employer for withholding wages.

Support, Encouragement, and Advice

Don’t allow your employer or his attorney to deny your rightful pay. Fight back by contacting an experienced overtime lawyer. We know how ruthless companies can be when trying to protect their profit, especially to those who don’t know the ins-and-outs of overtime laws. Fortunately, you don’t have to know them, because we do! Let our experience and knowledge work for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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