As oil prices have dropped, and continue to remain low, many companies in the oil and gas industry are announcing that they are laying off oilfield workers. Several of the largest oil and gas companies recently announced collective layoffs of more than 20,000 oilfield workers. Without question, in the coming months there will be hundreds if not thousands more Texas workers who will be affected by these job cuts. And, these affected workers should begin thinking about all of those hours they were required to work without overtime pay. Oilfield workers should ask themselves the following questions:
- Did I work 40+ hours/week without receiving overtime pay?
- Was I classified as an independent contractor and denied overtime pay?
- Was I paid the same hourly rate even for hours worked over 40 per week?
- Was I denied pay for meetings, training or travel between job sites?
- Was I paid for fewer hours than I actually worked?
- Was I a short-haul driver paid per load, regardless of the number of hours worked?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the worker may be entitled to overtime pay. One of the most common misconceptions among workers is that they have to be a current employee to get back overtime wages. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Workers who have been laid off can sue their former employers, as long as they have worked for them within the past 2-3 years. However, because of the time limitations for filing overtime pay claims, former employees must speak to an overtime attorney quickly to avoid losing their legal rights.
About the Author: I represent individuals in a variety of matters, including unpaid overtime. While my office is located in Fort Worth, I am admitted to practice in every state and federal court in Texas. If you believe you may be owed unpaid overtime, call me at 432.242.7118 or 817.908.9861 or fill out my contact form for a free evaluation.