OKLAHOMA CITY — In response to a lawsuit brought against it by former employees, SandRidge Energy Corp., agreed to pay nearly $4.95 million to compensate for what employees claim were withheld wages, according to The Oklahoman.
The lawsuit was originally filed in July 2013 and encompassed claims from 16 employees to constitute a class-action against SandRidge and its subsidiaries.
Employees claimed that their lawsuit was necessary as SandRidge’s failure to pay legally mandated overtime wages violated the Oklahoma Protection of Labor Act. Although safety meetings and the application and removal of safety gear were required by SandRidge, the time spent engaged in those activities were not properly compensated.
In addition to not properly recording all compensation eligible hours, employees say that SandRidge did not properly calculate their standard hourly wage as they neglected to include bonuses, shortchanging many of their workers who received overtime compensation.
However, while SandRidge did agree to pay their workers for these alleged labor violations, they were explicit in stating that the payment does not indicate an admission of guilt.
“Although defendants (SandRidge) believed their payroll practices complied with the law,” as stated in the settlement. “Defendants have revised certain work and compensation policies or practices in an effort to better prevent such claims in the future and to benefit employees.”
The settlement between the parties was reached through extended mediation which included a 15-hour meeting with an employment law attorney.
In spite of SandRidge refusing to admit guilt, their employees still believe that their “failure to pay all compensation due, including overtime compensation for time worked in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, violates the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”
Oklahoma City Overtime Wage Information
As of 2013 data, Oklahoma City is the most populous city in the state of Oklahoma with a reported population of approximately 610,613 permanent residence. This population dwarfs that of any other city in the state allowing Oklahoma City to retain a status of immense state economic importance as the capital and most populous city.
The economic impact of the city is especially evident in the energy industry as active oil wells comprise the outer perimeter of the Oklahoma City metro area.
With the energy industry and subsidiary oil industry demanding long grueling hours from its workers, employers often attempt to shortchange overtime or minimum wage payments to maximize their profitability in the competitive market.
One of the most commonly violated labor regulations in the industry is the failure of employers to appropriately compensate workers for all overtime hours worked in a standard work week. Frequently, employers will manipulate wage rates or fail to accurately log worker hours in order to pay employees a lower overtime wage or avoid paying any heightened wage altogether.
The regulations that must be met when charting and issuing overtime payments to employees is defined by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which states that if an employee is to work more than 40 hours in a standard work week, they must be paid 150% of their standard wage for the overtime hours worked.
If an employee is not paid an hourly wage but is still overtime eligible, their rate must be calculated by finding the sum of all compensation including standard wage and bonuses and dividing the total by the standard 40 hour work week. The average hourly wage that comes from this calculation must then be multiplied by at least 150% to determine the employees legal minimum overtime wage.
With workers in the energy industry highly susceptible to illegal overtime payment methods, it is important to be aware of the rights entitled to you by state and federal law. If you believe that your rights were violated by a current or former employer, contact (855) 754-2795 to investigate the actions of that employer.
An employer who has violated employee labor rights can be pursued for damages by the wronged employees through the filing of a lawsuit. Employers cannot retaliate against any employee for filing a lawsuit or assisting in labor regulation investigations.