Day Rate Inspectors of the energy infrastructure company, Kinder Morgan, have just settled their collective action lawsuit that alleged they were significantly underpaid. This $3.925 million settlement will help resolve claims that the company failed to properly pay these oil and gas pipeline inspectors for overtime wages. Those that stand to benefit from this payout include all Day Rate Inspectors employed by Kinder Morgan throughout the United States that were paid a day rate pay plan at any time during the last 3 years.
The lawsuit, that was filed back in 2019, specifically claimed that Kinder Morgan had incorrectly classified these inspectors as independent contractors instead of employees of the company. Despite classifying the inspectors as independent contractors Kinder Morgan treated all their Day Rate Inspectors as employees by establishing their work schedules, controlling their job assignments, withholding taxes from their pay, and maintaining their personnel records. Inspectors alleged that even though they were treated like employees, with every facet of their day dictated by the company, they were paid like independent contractors with only a day rate that disregarded all of the hours they actually worked. Inspectors often worked 12 hours a day for 6 or 7 days per week all the while never once receiving overtime pay in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Although Kinder Morgan denies violating any wage and hour laws, this significant settlement will help resolve these claims while also avoiding a lengthy and costly litigation for both parties.
If you are paid a day rate and have worked in the oil and gas industry in the last few years you may have claims for unpaid overtime. The energy industry is notorious for skirting federal and state labor laws by incorrectly classifying its workers as independent contractors. Companies save big at the expense of the workers by stripping them of benefits and protections, such as overtime pay, that are only reserved for employees. If you believe you have been a victim of a misclassification give our firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, a call at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website for additional information regarding your rights.