Houston energy firm EOG Resources is facing a federal wage lawsuit after a former oil field worker accused the company underpaying him and other employees for overtime hours, as well as misclassifying some of the workers as independent contractors.
The suit alleges that EOG employed flat-rate wage practices, paying employees a single sum per 12-hour shift. Due to the nature of the work, 7-day workweeks were common, without the time-and-a-half overtime pay stipulated by law. The suit goes on to claim that EOG classified him, and many other workers, as independent contractors, as a method of circumventing the laws that govern overtime pay. Despite the company’s insistence that the classification was accurate and legally allowed, the plaintiff maintains that the scope and nature of his work was not consistent with that of an independent contractor.
This practice is receiving scrutiny throughout the energy sector, where many large companies have been compelled to return owed wages to employees through the Department of Labor. In the last year, the department has taken in over a million dollars of wages owed to around 250 energy sector employees.
Throughout all business sectors, it is not uncommon for employees to be treated unfairly and illegally by an employer who believes that he or she has the leverage to impose an incorrect interpretation of the law over employees. Regardless of the severity of the underpayment, any workers who believe they have been underpaid by an employer deserve to be represented by a competent attorney who will fight aggressively to ensure that their claims are equitably settled.