Tuesday, April 8, 2014, was a big day for 71 oil field workers with J&A Services LLC. A federal judge approved a settlement between the workers and their employer that will mean reimbursement for the many hours of unpaid overtime they worked. The collective-action complaint was originally filed by employees Buck Howard and Pat Martin at the end of 2011, and it dragged on for quite some time before entering into mediation on January 8 of this year. With the recent settlement, the employer has agreed to pay out $2 million.
At the center of the complaint was the question of how field workers are classified. While J&A Services classified its field workers as overtime-exempt independent contractors, plaintiffs say that they were misclassified and illegally denied overtime pay. Instead, they asserted that, under the law, they should be classified as overtime-eligible employees.
While some employees did receive some pay for their overtime hours, the employer allegedly paid regular wages or “straight time” instead of the time-and-a-half wages they deserved.
Attorney Galvin Kennedy, who represented the field workers involved in the complaint, commented that “This case was a hard-fought case and I’m happy to see these oil and gas field workers from across the country recover their wages. This case should send a clear message to the energy industry that in this boom time, they must still comply with wage and hour laws.”
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