Recently, we have been posting blogs on the subject of wage and hour laws. There are tens of thousands of workers in the United States today who aren't being paid what they are due for their time and hard work. It happens across the board, but it is most prevalent in the gas and oil industries, where workers are collectively missing out on millions of dollars that they should otherwise being getting paid for the work they are doing.
One of the biggest wage and hour problems in the oil and gas industry is employee misclassification. Like independent contractors being misclassified, regular employees can be misclassified as well.
Most employees are permitted to be paid overtime if they work more than forty hours in a week, unless there are exemptions. Under professional exemption, a worker can be considered exempt if she or he is paid a salary of no less than $455 a week. This is an exemption because under the terms of "salary," the main duties of the worker are told to him or her prior to the job beginning. So, if the job cannot be done in the forty hour work week because a worker's discretion, they may not be eligible for overtime. This also applies to jobs that require "advanced knowledge," such as a science field, teaching, or learning position where the knowledge to do the job is acquired through a class or course that specializes in that type of instruction.
Oil and gas industry employers have been called into litigation in regards to the classification of different types of employees. These types of positions include jobs like overseers and some supervisory contracts.
Whether or not an employee is properly classified usually comes down to the agreement of the worker and his or her employee. The court should look at certain factors when making decisions in these types of cases, including what the worker's job is and what they actually do. If a worker is paid to do one job and works overtime to complete other jobs, it may be a case of worker misclassification.
Regardless, these types of wage and hour claims should be looked at on an individual basis and a qualified wage and hour attorney is needed to be your advocate in these situations. If you have questions about wage and hour law or believe that you have been underpaid or not paid for overtime work you have done, call the Pittsburgh wage and hour lawyers at Goodrich and Geist today at 800-806-2456 or 412-766-1455 for a free consultation.