Working as Mud Logger? Know Your Rights When it Comes to Overtime Pay

Galvin B. Kennedy
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Galvin Kennedy is a founding partner of Kennedy Hodges. He focuses his practice to overtime and wage claims.
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Working in the oil and gas industry is often both strenuous and challenging. In many cases, employees receive substantial compensation for the long hours and hard labor that they put in on behalf of their employer. Unfortunately, some companies in this industry attempt to find ways to avoid paying employees the full extent of compensation that they are entitled to under the law. This is true for many of the positions commonly held on the oil and gas drilling site, including that of a mud logger. Individuals working as mud loggers may be susceptible to wage and overtime violations by their employer.

What Is the Role of a Mud Logger?

To understand the job of a mud logger, we must first define “mud.” Most people who hear this term think of the messy substance that turns up in the dirt areas after a rain storm. Mud has a different meaning on an oil or gas drilling site. Mud in this context refers to a mixture of various materials, including water, bentonite, lubricants, and salt. This mud is then pumped down the drill hole of an oil or gas well. This provides much needed lubrication for the drill bit. It also helps to carry the cuttings out of the hole and helps to constrain pressure that forms from the gas.

The role of a mud logger is an important one when it comes to oil and gas drilling operations. A mud logger has many responsibilities, including the following:

  • Catching, cleaning, and analyzing the samples brought out by the mud during drilling operations.

  • Logging the data surrounding these samples.

  • Running a calcimeter and looking for pressure trends.

  • Working with the rig to determine where to drill.

  • Reporting to the rig operator, geologists and engineers the details of the geographic samples that are taken.

Since this job is so important to oil and gas drilling operations, mud loggers must have strong communication skills, excel at multitasking, and thrive under pressure.

How Mud Loggers Fall Victim to Overtime Violations

Unfortunately, some mud loggers are not compensated fairly or adequately for the hard work that they do on behalf of their employers. One way that employers avoid paying their mud loggers their fair compensation is by misclassifying them so that they are deemed ineligible for overtime pay. Under the rules outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act, a mud logger is typically entitled to receive overtime compensation for hours worked above 40 in a work week. Some employers, however, attempt to avoid this extra pay by misclassifying mud loggers, also referred to as mud logging technicians. Instead of their proper title, they are deemed to be geologists and treated as exempt from overtime pay.

As described above, mud loggers create a record, or log, of geological samples taken from boreholes at a drilling site. This information helps the owners of the wells understand the content of the boreholes in order to make decisions about the most efficient ways in which to drill. Many mud loggers are employed by third-party mud logging companies.

By classifying a mud logger as a geologist, an employer can attempt to claim that the mud logger is exempt from overtime because his or her job function reflects administrative or managerial duties. Another way that employers misclassify mud loggers in an attempt to avoid overtime pay is to classify them as independent contractors when they are, in fact, employees.

Are you Entitled to Overtime Compensation as a Mud Logger?

If you are mud logger working on an oil or gas drilling site, chances are good that you are entitled to receive overtime compensation. This is true regardless of the job title that your employer may assign you. The following are important facts that all mud loggers should keep in mind:

  • When it comes to determining whether you are entitled to overtime compensation, your job title is irrelevant. What matters is what your specific job duties entail.

  • If your job duties reflect those of an hourly employee, you are likely entitled to overtime compensation.

  • If you have little discretion or decision making ability, you are likely entitled to overtime compensation.

If you work in the oil and gas industry, we can help you obtain the compensation that you rightly deserve. We encourage you to contact us today for more information at (888) 449-2068.


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