Widespread Violations of Overtime Law In Marcellus Shale Oil and Gas Industry

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the recovery of $4.5M in unpaid overtime for thousands of Marcellus Shale natural gas workers Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The DOL’s investigation revealed significant violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which resulted in employers agreeing to pay $4,409,547 in back wages to 5,310 employees. An official with the DOL called the oil and gas industry “ripe for noncompliance.”

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well one and one-half their regular rates for every hour worked beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. Employers that violate the FLSA are generally liable for back wages and liquidated damages payable to the affected employees.

Most violations among Marcellus Shale workers related to improper overtime payment. Some employees' production bonuses were not factored into their regular rate of pay, which is used to determine the proper overtime pay rate. All pay received by employees during the workweek must be counted n when determining the overtime premium to be paid. Investigators also found that some salaried employees were misclassified as exempt from the FLSA’s overtime provisions.

Under the FLSA, individual employees can sue on their own and on behalf of similarly situated employees for unpaid wages and overtime. If you have a question about unpaid wages or overtime, call us at 412-338-1145.

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