Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP along with Bruckner Burch PLLC filed a collective action against Keane Group Holdings for unpaid overtime. Keane, well known to some of the largest oil and gas companies, offers completion services such as hydraulic fracturing, engineered solutions, wireline technologies, coiled tubing, top hole air rig packages, and cementing. This lawsuit seeks to recover overtime pay for plaintiffs and their similarly situated oilfield coworkers. Affected workers include QSHE Coordinators, Wireline Supervisors and other similar salaried workers.
When pay structures have been established in an industry for decades, they become widely accepted without question. Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why many workers don’t think twice about how they are paid or even consider that there may in fact be pay violations. The energy industry, specifically those who make a living by fracking, coiling, well testing, and drilling, is no different. Various sectors of this industry are riddled with overtime pay violations and are a common occurrence.
Keane employs hundreds of oilfield workers throughout the United States. Their oilfield employees are salaried workers and typically work the oil rigs for 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week for weeks at a time, all while in some of the harshest working conditions. In order to avoid paying QHSE Coordinators, Wireline Supervisors, and other similar salaried workers overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 per workweek, Keane allegedly misclassified them as exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Despite this classification, Plaintiffs and similarly situated salaried workers have non-exempt primary duties. In this regard, QHSE Coordinators, the first level of employees in Keane’s safety services, have primary duties that involve assisting rigging up and rigging down oilfield equipment, hauling iron, hauling trailers, setting up chains at a job site, picking up supplies, cleaning up the job site, mixing Gatorade and refilling water, checking shower trailers, and completing routine client/company checklists. Similarly, Wireline Supervisors also have non-exempt primary duties that involve operating the wireline truck’s winch, lowering tools down the well, setting wireline plugs, and completing route client/company checklists. Due to the extent of manual labor required as well as basic primary duties involved in these job titles, the lawsuit alleges that these positions should not be exempt from receiving overtime pay under the FLSA.
Under the FLSA workers must be paid overtime when working over 40 hours per week. Workers in the energy industry are frequently required to work well over 40 hours per week and so have protections under this law. Even though the FLSA cannot forbid these companies to force their employees to work so many hours, it does demand they pay overtime to employees that work more than 40 hours per week at time-and-a-half their regular rate.
If you are a current or former worker of the oil and gas industry and are unsure about your pay structure, please give one of the employment attorneys of Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP a call for a free phone consultation. You will be able to address your concerns with one of our experienced attorneys and see if you may have a wage claim. You can reach us at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website fslawfirm.com for more information.