Baron & Budd Wins Trial Against Latshaw Drilling Company For Unpaid Overtime Wages
Court finds oil and gas drilling contractor failed to include shift
differentials and bonuses in regular rate of pay to calculate overtime
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, the national law firm Baron
& Budd announced that it won an unpaid overtime wage trial on
behalf of 137 oilfield workers in U.S. District Court in the Northern
District of Texas against Latshaw Drilling Company, LLC (Case
3:15-cv-01173-N). In a ruling on Oct. 12, 2018, U.S. District Judge
David C. Godbey found that Latshaw Drilling failed to properly
compensate employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not
including bonuses and pay for working with oil based drilling mud when
calculating the overtime wages owed those employees.
Like most oilfield workers, Latshaw Drilling’s drilling rig employees
worked long hours – typically 80 or more hours per workweek. Although
Latshaw Drilling generally paid those employees time and one-half their
hourly rates of pay for overtime hours, Latshaw Drilling did not include
bonuses and oil based mud pay, along with the hourly rate, when
calculating the overtime wages owed.
The Court found that the failure to include bonuses and oil based mud
pay resulted in an underpayment of the overtime wages the employees
should have been paid under the FLSA. As referenced by the Court in its
ruling, employers have the burden of proof to show that any money
provided to its employees can be excluded from the calculation of
overtime wages owed under the FLSA.
For example, an employee paid $20 per hour without receiving bonuses or
oil based mud pay would typically be paid $30 per hour (time and
one-half of $20 per hour) for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.
However, if that employee also received oil based mud pay or bonus pay
for that week, that pay should be divided by the total hours worked to
re-calculate the base hourly rate, or regular rate as the FLSA calls it,
to calculate the overtime wages owed. So, the overtime rate might be
based on $23 per hour instead of $20 per hour, depending on the amount
of additional pay and total hours worked.
Also, when an employer does not pay all FLSA overtime wages owed, it is
typically required to pay double that amount to the affected employee.
Some state overtime laws, such as those in New Mexico, can require an
employer to pay three times the amount of overtime wages not timely paid.
“We are very pleased that Court ruled in favor of these hard working
oilfield employees,” said Allen Vaught, lead attorney for Plaintiffs at
the Latshaw Drilling trial and head of the Employment Law Group at Baron
& Budd. “These Latshaw Drilling employees have worked hard in very tough
working conditions in an industry that is important to America. With
more American families struggling to get by, it’s only right that they
receive a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, and I’m pleased that our
team is able to help those workers.”
ABOUT BARON & BUDD, P.C.
Baron & Budd, P.C. is among the largest and most accomplished
plaintiffs’ law firms in the country. With more than 40-years of
experience, Baron & Budd has the expertise and resources to handle
complex litigation throughout the United States. As a law firm that
takes pride in remaining at the forefront of litigation, Baron & Budd
has spearheaded many significant cases for hundreds of entities and
thousands of individuals. Since the firm was founded in 1977, Baron &
Budd has achieved substantial national acclaim for its work on
cutting-edge litigation, trying hundreds of cases to verdict and
settling tens of thousands of cases in areas of litigation as diverse as
dangerous pharmaceuticals and defective medical devices, asbestos and
mesothelioma, environmental contamination, fraudulent banking practices,
motor vehicles, employment, and other consumer fraud issues.
Baron & Budd, P.C.
Monica Cordova, 214-523-6633