On Tuesday, August 18, 2020, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP alongside Bruckner Burch PLLC, filed a collective action against Pioneer Natural Resources Company (“Pioneer”) and Miller & Associates Drilling Fluid Consultants, Inc. (“Miller & Associates”) for unpaid wages on behalf of day rate mud engineers and/or drilling fluid engineers (“Mud Engineers”). Pioneer, a leading oil and gas exploration and production company, employs hundreds of Mud Engineers through companies such as Miller & Associates to work on their companywide job sites. This lawsuit seeks to recover overtime compensation for all similarly situated Mud Engineers who have worked on behalf of Pioneer and Miller & Associates in the United States.
Mud Engineers regularly worked for these companies in excess of 40 hours each week but went unpaid for these overtime hours worked. Instead of paying overtime as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), Pioneer and Miller & Associates improperly classified these similarly situated Mud Engineers as independent contractors and paid them a daily rate with no overtime compensation. However, these companies have direct control over Mud Engineers’ day-to- day activities. In this regard, Mud Engineers receive daily instructions and job assignments from Pioneer supervisors. Pioneer supervisors would likewise review all reports created by Mud Engineers, and provide further instructions based on these reports. Miller & Associates provides Mud Engineers with the equipment they required to do their jobs, and Pioneer would provide personal protective equipment. Miller & Associates would likewise provide Mud Engineers with company uniforms and controlled their work schedule based on Pioneer’s business needs. Mud Engineers are wholly economically dependent on these companies, as they only receive payment for days that they work. Mud Engineers do not incur operating expenses like rent, payroll, marketing, and insurance. Despite having substantial custody and control over Mud Engineers and being their employer, Pioneer and Miller & Associates misclassified them as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime compensation.
This action is brought on behalf of similarly situated current and former Mud Engineers who elect to opt-in to this action to remedy violations of the wage-and-hour provisions of the FLSA by Pioneer and Miller & Associates that has deprived similarly situated employees of their lawfully earned wages. If you would like more information about this specific matter, feel free to reach us at (212) 300-0375. Additionally, if you work in the oil and gas industry and feel you may be experiencing similar violations at your place of work, you can call us for a free and confidential consultation or view helpful information regarding your rights on our website.
You can also view the filed complaint here.