Labor Department, Halliburton Settle Overtime Case

Date: September 22, 2015

Major Oil Industry Firm To Pay Back Wages For 1,016 Misclassified Workers

As the Obama Administration becomes increasingly aggressive on wage issues, the Labor Department has been seeking to press overtime wage cases. The latest case involves major oil field services firm Halliburton, which has agreed to a nearly $18.3 million payment of overtime wages to 1,016 workers. According to a Labor Department investigation, Halliburton misclassified salaried workers in 28 different jobs as ineligible for overtime pay for working more than 40 hours per week, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Labor Department explained, “Simply paying an employee a salary does not necessarily mean the employee is not eligible for overtime,” because overtime is based on the amount a worker is paid per week, not on job title. The Department noted that “employees generally must meet certain tests regarding their job duties and be paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week” to be exempt from overtime, and must work in certain executive, administrative, professional, or outside sales positions or specific computer-related roles. Commenting on the case, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said, “Employers who don’t pay their employees the wages they have earned don’t just hurt their workers, they undercut employers who play by the rules. That’s why we work every day to help level the playing field.” Acting Southwest Regional Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division Betty Campbell cautioned employers, “Ignorance is never an excuse for violating the law. The Wage and Hour Division offers a great deal of compliance assistance and stands ready to help workers and employers alike. We welcome and appreciate the cooperation of employers, like Halliburton, as we continue our investigations and educate employers about how wage violations hurt their industry and our nation’s economy.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small businesses bear the brunt of government regulations on wages. While corporations like Halliburton, which employs about 70,000 people worldwide, may have the resources to hire workers to ensure that they remain in compliance with wage laws and the funds to pay penalties if they are found in violation of such laws, the average small business owner lacks the resources to do so. As federal regulations on overtime grow increasingly complex and the Labor Department becomes further intent on enacting anti-business regulations, small businesses will suffer.

Additional Reading

Fuel Fix (TX) and The Hill also note the settlement.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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