Energy companies are notorious for compelling their Texas oil and gas field employees to work more than 40 hours per week. Despite what these employers claim, however, most of their field workers are “non-exempt,” meaning they must be paid time-and-a-half for any overtime put in. If you are an oil or gas field worker who regularly puts in more than 40 hours a week on the job, the law firm of Kennedy Hodges LLP can help to recoup your illegally withheld overtime earnings.
Oil and Gas Field Work Places Enormous Demands on Employees
Laying pipelines, constructing drilling platforms, and extracting natural gas are all arduous and dangerous, jobs that require maximum effort from field workers. Because oil and gas fields are usually in remote locations, it's to a company's benefit to keep its employees “on site” as long as possible, with the result that many workers regularly put in more than 40 hours per week—often under a blazing hot sun.
How do oil and gas companies get around the legal requirement to pay overtime to their field workers? Typically, they misclassify employees as “exempt,” meaning that they earn more than $455 per week, have control over their own work load, and—in some cases—possess advanced degrees that endow them with unique and hard-to-find qualifications. (Only a small percentage of oil and gas field workers fall into this last category.) Crucially, most oil and gas field workers don't have the necessary independence to be considered exempt employees, for the simple reason that managers at the site supervise them and tell them what to do next!
It's also common for oil and gas companies to pay their employees a per-day or per-project rate. This works to the employee's benefit if she can discharge her duties in a small amount of time, but it works to the employer's benefit if the project requires more than 40 hours per week of labor. In these cases, the employer will actually see a net savings, since overtime, by law, should be compensated at one and one-half times an employee's hourly rate.
Oil and Gas Field Work Often Involves Uncompensated Time
Even if you're an oil or gas field worker who puts in only 40 hours of work a week, you may still be entitled to overtime. This is because energy companies often don't compensate employees for tasks they consider to be peripheral to their jobs, such as:
- Travel time between job sites (which can be located hours apart by car)
- Time spent in meetings
- Calls from home to check your daily schedule
- Time spent filling out paperwork
- Time spent learning safety requirements
Do You Deserve Overtime? Call Now for a Free Consultation
If you are a Texas oil and gas field worker who regularly works more than 40 hours per week for a single employer, you may be entitled to back overtime pay as well as penalties. The Texas overtime lawyers at Kennedy Hodges LLP have decades of experience in employment and overtime law. They accept clients from across the United States. Call toll-free today at 888-449-2068 and they will send you a FREE copy of their book, The 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim.