TEXAS — A former energy worker recently filed a federal unpaid overtime lawsuit in Texas alleging his employer intentionally misclassified him an an overtime exempt independent contractor to avoid paying him and other similar workers time and a half pay. The suit aims to recover back wages and other damages on behalf on the lead plaintiff and other workers with similar claims against the defendant, Percheron Energy, LLC.
The plaintiff worked as a petroleum landman for the defendant for three-years. The role of landmen is to secure the rights to drill and operate on private or governmental lands. Job duties of landmen include combing through land records, research ownership, and negotiate contracts to buy or lease the land for energy exploration.
The lawsuit states the landmen routinely worked over 40-hours per week scouring land records to find appropriate drilling sites and are due overtime for their work. Plaintiffs claim their classification as independent contractors was nothing more than a way to get around having to pay for time and a half.
Federal Independent Contractor Classification Laws
Classifying employees as independent contractors is an all too common scheme for unscrupulous employers to avoid paying employee for their hard work. However, simply classifying an individual as an “independent contractor” does not mean they are automatically exempt from overtime payments.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has a 20-factor test to determine if an employee is actually an independent contractor. The main goal is to determine who exactly exercises control over the employee’s work. Workers with less control over their day to day operations are less likely in the mind of the IRS to be actual independent contractors.
Some of the factors in the IRS 20 factor independent contractor test include things like the amount of instruction or level of training the worker needs to undergo by the employer to fulfill his or her work duties. While employees do not need to meet all 20 factors in the IRS guidelines, the requirements are less subjective than many employers may realize.
Texas Oil Worker Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit
Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.
Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.