HOUSTON — Halliburton Co has settled an overtime suit in the amount of $18.3 million to be paid to more than 1,000 oil and gas workers. The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that this settlement is one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years for the agency. Founded in 1919, Halliburton is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. The company has more than 70,000 employees, representing 140 nationalities in more than 80 countries worldwide.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), covered, non-exempt employees should be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and a half of their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses, and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. According to the DOL, Halliburton improperly classified workers in 28 job categories as exempt from overtime pay under FLSA. Some of the positions incorrectly classified as exempt included field service reps, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists, and reliability tech specialists. Halliburton apparently automatically exempted all salaried workers from overtime without considering their income or job duties.
Under FLSA and DOL guidance, simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime. FLSA provides exemptions for individuals employed in bona fide executive, administrative, professional, and outside sales positions, as well as certain computer employees. To qualify for one of the exemptions under FLSA, employees generally must satisfy certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. An employee’s job title does not determine his or her exempt status. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet all the requirements of the DOL’s regulations.
FLSA Duties Tests
The duties test for exemption looks at the type of work an employee performs. Generally, exempt employees tend to perform high-level tasks with respect to the company’s overall operations irrespective of job title. Executive employees generally supervise two or more other employees, performs the primary duties of management, and has genuine input into other workers’ employment status. Professional employees include lawyers, physicians, teachers, architects, nurses, and others who perform work that requires advanced education or training and the use of discretion or judgment. Administrative employees are those workers whose main duties directly involve supporting the company’s business operations, such as payroll, accounting, human resources, or public relations.
Employers need to actually consider the duties performed by employees before considering them as exempt from FLSA’s minimum wage or overtime requirements. One’s job title or salary status does not automatically exempt from FLSA coverage. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe you have been deprived of your wage rights due to an employer’s misclassification. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.