Haliburton, the oilfield services and products giant, has agreed to pay more than $18 million to more than 1,000 workers who were wrongfully misclassified as exempt employees and denied overtime compensation in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to Law 360 (subscription required), Haliburton discovered the error during an internal audit and voluntarily reclassified the employees who worked as field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists, and reliability specialists. The oil company then worked with the U.S. Department of Labor to reach the $18.3 million agreement, settling one of the largest overtime and wage disputes the agency has ever recovered.
The Labor Department has been actively pursuing and enforcing wage and hour compliance in the oil and gas industry among other market segments. All non-exempt employees are entitled to at least the federal minimum wage per hour plus time and half for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Certain “white collar” workers are exempt under the FLSA, however they must be working in a legitimate executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales position.
Cases like this demonstrate that even mistaken misclassifications do not provide employers with an excuse to improperly pay their employees. If you have questions about your wages or employment status, please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group.