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IN EMPLOYMENT LAW

An Explosion of Jobs in the Marcellus Shale

The Marcellus Shale is a sedimentary rock deposit buried thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. It stretches from upstate New York south through Pennsylvania to West Virginia and to parts of Ohio. Named after a town in upstate New York, the rock itself is millions of years old, formed from mud and organic material. The oil and natural gas created over millions of years as a byproduct of decomposition is trapped in tiny spaces and fissures within the rock. Domestically produced natural shale gas is a clean-burning energy resource drilled using 21st century vertical or horizontal technologies.

The increase of natural gas usage has had economic benefits across the nation through more affordable energy prices and robust economic activity and created thousands of jobs. According to a recent economic analysis, the natural gas industry invested more than $12 billion in Pennsylvania in 2011 while supporting more than 200,000 jobs. In Ohio alone, fracking and its oil drilling and natural gas industries, have supported more than 200,000 jobs, and the state contributed 4.7 percent to the total U.S. energy manufacturing GDP in 2012.

What is the Problem?

Individuals working for oil and gas companies encounter different issues related to how they are paid. First, individuals employed by oil and gas companies, especially those who work in the field, will be classified as an independent contractor rather than an employee. This means that the company does not take tax withholdings from your pay and tries to avoid many laws meant to benefit employees. Specifically, oil and gas companies will misclassify individuals as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime pay. If you work for an oil and gas company and the company sets your schedule and controls different aspects of your employment (like where to be, when to be there, how long you have to be there, and supervise what you are doing when you are there) then you are likely an employee of the company, not an independent contractor, and should be paid overtime pay when you work over forty hours in a workweek.

Even when oil and gas companies classify individuals as employees, the company will still try to avoid paying overtime pay. Instead, employees will be paid a flat rate, or a day rate for all hours worked.

This is especially true when employees work for several weeks straight and anywhere from 10 to 12 hours per day. Under federal law, employees cannot be paid a day rate and have to be paid by the hour for all hours work. Additionally, employees are required to be paid overtime pay at time and one half their regular hourly rate when they work over 40 hours in a work week.

Finally, oil and gas companies will misclassify employees as an exempt from overtime pay. This means that employees will be paid a set salary regardless of how many hours worked in a week. Whether an employee should receive a set salary or overtime pay depends on what that employee is actually doing on a day to day basis. This is true even if you are employed as a supervisor or manager. If you spend the majority of your day performing manual or nonsupervisory work, you are likely entitled to overtime pay.

What Marcellus Shale Jobs are Affected?

With the domestic boom in natural shale gas, oil and gas companies which perform exploration and drilling are always looking for employees. Oil and gas companies typically hire employees for jobs as a: field engineer or supervisor, derrick hand, driller, floor hand, roughneck, rig hand, mechanic, roustabout, welder, compressor operator, equipment operator, lease hand, production foreman, pumper, well tender, and coiler.

Typically, individuals employed in one of these positions will work for several weeks straight, work 10 to 12 hour days, and be considered “on call” at all times. This results in working a substantial amount of overtime each workweek.

Where can I Find Out if I am Entitled to Overtime Pay?

If you have worked for an oil or gas company either in the Marcellus Shale or anywhere else and not paid overtime, you can contact the employment attorneys at Fitapelli & Schaffer. F&S is a well-respected and nationally recognized, seven attorney employment litigation firm that represents oil and gas employees in a wide variety of employment matters, including individual and class action litigation involving unpaid wages. To find out whether you are entitled to overtime pay, you can contact our office at (212) 300-0375 or email info@fslawfirm.com.

RECORD SETTING AWARDS AND SETTLEMENTS

FOR OUR CLIENTS


$19,100,000

$19.1 Million for Tipped Restaurant Workers. (pending court approval)

Workers such as servers, bussers, runners bartenders, barbacks and other tipped workers at a large national casual dining chain alleged they were owed wages. Their claims included but were not limited to: unpaid overtime, spread-of hours, misappropriated tips, uniform-related expenses and unlawful deductions.

$15,900,000

$15.9 Million for Personal Bankers.

The firm was able to recover overtime compensation for personal bankers and others similarly situated at a national bank that operates hundreds of branches throughout the United States. Employees in affected positions claimed they were required to work more than 40 hours a week in order to meet sales quotas but were not compensated overtime for their pay.

$14,500,000

$14.5 Million for Spam Text Victims

Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover damages for recipients of unwanted promotional text messages from a popular young adult clothing retailer. The clothing company allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending text messages to recipients’ cellular phones without their prior express written consent.

$7,000,000

$7.0 Million for Bank Loan Officers

The firm was able to recover overtime compensation for loan officers at a national bank that operates more than hundreds of branches nationwide. Employees in affected positions claimed they were required to work more than 40 hours a week in order to meet sales goals but were not compensated overtime for their pay.

$5,900,000

$5.9 Million for Commissioned Car Salesmen.

One of the largest auto dealerships in the NYC Metropolitan Area agreed to pay owed wages to its car salesmen. The company was accused of failing to pay salesmen the proper minimum wage, overtime pay, commissions, and made unlawful deductions from their earned wages in violation of federal labor laws.

$4,300,000

$4.3 Million for Personal Bankers

Even though personal bankers at this nationwide bank were classified as exempt from receiving overtime pay, the company routinely required them to work in excess of 40 hours per week. There are federal laws that help protect workers from misclassification and in this situation; Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover unpaid overtime for personal bankers throughout the United States.

$4,300,000

$4.3 Million for Entertainers at Gentleman’s Clubs

F&S represented entertainers at a popular gentleman’s club in New York City that claimed the club failed to pay them the proper wages. The entertainers were able to recover owed wages that included unpaid minimum wages, overtime pay, spread-of-hours pay, unlawfully retained tips, unlawful deductions, and uniform-related expenses.

$3,600,000

$3.6 Million for Tipped Employees at Upscale Restaurant

Tipped workers alleged that a Mexican Michelin rated restaurant with 17 locations denied them overtime pay, minimum wages, and call-in pay. Our firm was able to recover wages for these tipped employees that included servers, bussers, bartenders, food runners and barbacks.

$3,400,000

$3.4 Million for Assistant Managers at Bank

Fitapelli & Schaffer successfully recovered unpaid overtime for assistant managers on a salary at a bank with locations nationwide. The salaried workers argued that they were wrongfully classified as exempt from receiving overtime when working over 40 hours per week.

$3,000,000

$3.0 Million for Bank Loan Officers

The fast food chain allegedly misclassified its assistant managers as salaried workers and considered them exempt from receiving overtime pay when working over 40 hours per week. Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover overtime compensation for all of the popular fast food chains’ assistant managers nationwide, with the exception of California.

$2,836,000

$2.9 Million for Tipped Restaurant Employees.

Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover unpaid minimum wages, overtime, spread-of hours, and unlawful deductions for tipped restaurant workers at a popular dining chain. Affected workers included servers, bussers, runners bartenders, barbacks and other tipped workers.

$2,250,000

$2.25 Million for Tipped Workers at Chain Sports Bar

proper minimum wage and overtime. Fitapelli & Schaffer helped the workers recover owed wages to the following positions: servers, bussers, bartenders, and other tipped workers under federal and state labor laws.

$2,000,000

$2.0 Million for Bank Loan Officers

Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to successfully recover unpaid overtime for loan officers at a nationwide bank that operates over one thousand locations across the United States. Loan officers for the company alleged that even though they were hourly employees and consistently worked over 40 hours per week they were working off the clock and not getting overtime pay.

$1,950,000

$1.95 Million for Health Care Workers

A New York based health insurance provider allegedly had its health care workers working over 40 hours per week but required they submit weekly timesheets that only showed they worked 37.5 hours. Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to successfully recover compensation for unpaid wages, overtime and spread of hours pay.

CONTACT

FITAPELLI & SCHAFFER LLP


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