In mid-November, Mid-Continent Well Logging Service, Inc. agreed to a $1.4 million settlement with a former employee who was not paid the overtime compensation that he rightfully deserved. The substantial settlement represents a significant victory for workers everywhere. If the judge presiding over the case ultimately agrees to the settlement, it would bring an end to a proposed class action filed in 2014 that sought unpaid overtime pay. The matter was filed in a federal court in Oklahoma. If approved, a class of workers will each be eligible to receive part of the million dollar settlement.
An Overview of the $1.4 Million Settlement Involving Unpaid Overtime
To start, the lawsuit against Mid-Continent Well Logging Service, Inc. was pursued by a mud logger, lead plaintiff John McKinley. Mid-Continent is a company that provides mud logging services to oil and drilling companies. He filed the lawsuit in June of 2014. In his filings, McKinley alleged the following:
- Mid-Continent did not pay him overtime during his employment with the company.
- McKinley worked for the company beginning in 2013 and ending in 2014.
- McKinley’s responsibilities included sampling, photographing, and testing grease used in drilling wells. He was also responsible for recording the results of the tests in a mud log.
- McKinley worked 12-hour shifts, 7 days per week.
- McKinley received straight pay according to his shifts, but did not receive any overtime pay.
- Failing to pay overtime compensation was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Mid-Continent also failed to comply with an Oklahoma law requiring companies to pay all wages owed after the end of a worker’s employment.
Initially, Mid-Continent battled back against McKinley’s allegations. The company claimed that McKinley’s assertions about the number of hours he worked was inaccurate. In the request for the judge overseeing the case to approve the joint settlement, however, the company stated that it represented a fair compromise.
Employees Are Entitled to Damages When They Are Not Paid Rightful Overtime
Clearly, a settlement amounting to more than one million dollars is a huge victory for workers who were not paid the compensation that they deserved. The settlement amount was said by both parties to represent a fair compromise of the potential award that the plaintiff would have received had the case gone to trial. The action against Mid-Continent is far from unique. Many lawsuits are cropping up all over the United States as a result of unpaid overtime and other wage violations involving workers in the oil and gas industry. When these workers are not paid the compensation that they deserve, they may have a claim for compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and other laws. Under the Act, employees may be entitled to various damages, including the following:
- Any shortfall in compensation suffered by the employee
- Liquidated damages suffered by the employee, which means double the amount of damages
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
When the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor conducts an investigation of an employer that is violating the provisions of the Act, there are several ways in which employers can be made to pay the back wages that they are required to pay under the law. These options include:
- Having the Wage and Hour Division supervise payment of back wages
- Having the Secretary of Labor bring suit for back wages and liquidated damages
- Having an employee file a private suit for back pay and liquidated damages
- Having the Secretary of Labor obtain an injunction to restrain any person from violating the Fair Labor Standards Act
If you were not paid the overtime or wages that you are entitled to, it is important to take action and not rely on a government agency or other party to correct the problem on your behalf. We are here to help protect your legal rights. We encourage you to reach out today for more information.