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Oil Patch Overtime Claim Moves Forward

BISMARCK, N.D. — Employees for an oil services company, Schlumberger Ltd., in North Dakota were granted conditional class certification in their class action overtime claim in North Dakota federal court recently. The employees claim the company failed to pay them the overtime wages they were entitled to when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The company’s alleged failure to provide proper overtime wages violates the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The class certification currently only includes employees working at the Williston site. Even though the certification is limited to only one of the company’s work sites, it is estimated there could be hundreds of class members and more than $5 million in damages. These potential class members will receive notice of the class action in the near future.

The Overtime Claim

A former employee tasked with maintaining and operating the company’s oilfield equipment, Chris Elliot, filed the initial lawsuit in 2014. The lawsuit claims the company, which provides technology and support services to oil and gas companies, utilized a fluctuating workweek schedule to avoid paying employees overtime.  According to the claim, Schlumberger regularly scheduled employees to work more than 8 hours a day and more than 40 hours a week. Yet, the employees never received overtime pay.

The conditional certification is based on the evidence the former employees provided the court. The evidence included statements, based on their personal knowledge of the company and its pay practices. Because the initial requirement for conditional certification is fairly lenient, the court believed that while the employees may not have solid evidence of the pay violations, the employees will likely have a reasonable understanding of the practices and policies at their work locations.

Overtime Hours and Wages

Under the FLSA, when a non-exempt employee works more than 40 hours in a workweek, they are entitled to overtime wages for anytime over those 40 hours. Employers can generally schedule their employees as they are needed so long as the employees are credited and properly paid for all of the hours they work, including their overtime hours. The overtime wages are calculated at rate of at least one and a half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Because overtime wages are appreciably more than regular wages, employers will typically schedule employees for less than 40 hours or will limit the number of overtime hours an employee can work.

Regardless of whether you work four ten-hour shifts, five eight-hour shifts, or any other combination of hours, you are entitled to compensation for all of the hours you work. If your employer is not compensating you for all of the hours you work, whether it is regular or overtime pay, contact our team of overtime pay lawyers today. Our experienced legal team can be reached at (855) 754-2795 or through our Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.

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