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Oilfield Pay Lawsuits On The Rise

December 23rd, 2014

The number of payroll lawsuits filed by employees, including oilfield pay lawsuits, has risen more than four-fold in the less than a decade. Lawsuits over compensation, including overtime pay, rose from 280 in 2004 to 1,128 in 2013. A leading cause of that rise is in the number of oilfield pay lawsuits filed by truck drivers, well drillers and engineers who were denied overtime pay by oil companies exploring the oil shale regions of Texas, California, and the Northeast.

“Tidal Wave” of Oilfield Pay Lawsuits

The number of oilfield pay lawsuits, as well as other suits related to lost overtime pay, has seen a steep rise in recent years. According to a report from Androvett Legal Media, Texas workers filed 280 overtime pay lawsuits in federal courts in 2004. That number more than doubled, to 632, in 2012, and nearly doubled again, to 1,128, the following year. The total so far for 2014 stands at 922. An attorney who represents businesses in oilfield pay lawsuits and other overtime suits described the trend as a “tidal wave” that “doesn’t look like it is going to (subside) anytime soon.”

Dallas Jury Rules In Oilfield Pay Lawsuit

Earlier this year, a federal jury in Dallas ruled in favor of workers in an oilfield pay lawsuit. The suit alleged that Fort Worth-based Native Oilfield Services owed more than 100 truck drivers for unpaid overtime. The drivers in the oilfield pay lawsuit were hired to carry sand to fracking wells in the Eagle For Shale in West Texas. When the drivers arrived at the site, no trucks would be available for them to drive, leaving them waiting for hours with no work and no pay.

FLSA and Oilfield Pay Lawsuits

The law most attorneys use to help workers in oilfield pay lawsuits is the Federal Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. The FLSA was passed in 1938 to protect workers during the Great Depression. The FLSA established the ideas of a 40-hour work week, overtime pay, and the restriction of child labor. The law also allows workers, such as those involved in oilfield pay lawsuits, to sue for lost compensation. These suits also require that the defending companies pay the plaintiff’s attorney’s legal fees.

Fracking and Oilfield Pay Lawsuits

The growth of the fracking industry in Texas has contributed to the growth in oilfield pay lawsuits. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, uses a mixture of water, solvents, sand and other chemicals to reach oil and natural gas deposits deep underground. Trucks must carry the fracking fluid and sand to the sites, as well as carrying the waste products away from the wells. The expansion of fracking operations has led to an employment boom in the oil shale regions, but has also led to a rise in the number of oilfield pay lawsuits alleging that the energy companies fail to pay overtime and other expenses to their workers.

Source: Dallas Morning News

Know Your Rights in an Oilfield Pay Lawsuit

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