HOUSTON, Texas. One of the ways that oilfield companies save money is by classifying workers as independent contractors. How you are classified as a worker can make a big difference regarding your pay rate, your responsibility when it comes to paying taxes, and your ability to access certain types of benefits like worker’s compensation and unemployment. Many oilfield companies want to classify workers as independent contractors because of the tax benefits and because these workers can be better utilized to serve short-term needs. There are cases where workers and companies might mutually benefit from an independent contractor relationship. For example, consultants and individuals running their own businesses will often enter independent contractor relationships. However, if you are looking for a job, and an oilfield company wants to label you an independent contractor—watch out.
If you are misclassified as an independent contractor, your employer might tell you that you don’t have the right to ask for overtime pay, that you don’t have the right to worker’s compensation if you are injured on the job, and that you may have to pay self-employment taxes yourself on the paychecks you receive. If your employer isn’t taking out taxes from your pay check, you’ll likely owe money at the end of the year.
According to E&P, independent contractor misclassification has become such an issue in the oilfield industry that some workers are seeking back pay through class action lawsuits. In some cases, workers have sued oil companies because they realized that they weren’t receiving overtime pay and, in some cases, weren’t even receiving minimum wage for the time they worked.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the three most common wage and hour violations include: failing to pay overtime for every hour worked over a 40-hour workweek, misclassifying workers as independent contractors, and requiring workers to log work off the clock. Many oilfield workers may be suffering from wage and hour violations without realizing it. While the oilfield industry has been working to correct its past wrongs, according to the Houston Chronicle, many workers may be owed thousands or tens of thousands of dollars (and in some cases, six figure settlements) in back pay due to unpaid overtime or misclassification as an independent contractor.
So, how do you know if you may be entitled to receive back pay? Were you classified as an independent contractor? Were you denied overtime pay? Were you asked to work “off the clock”? If this describes your experience, you may be entitled to receive a settlement. Moore & Associates are Houston, Texas employment lawyers who can review your case and situation, and who can fight to help you get the back pay you may deserve under the law. Oilfield workers have lost out on hundreds, thousands, and in some cases, even six-figure amounts due to misclassification and oilfield companies’ failure to pay overtime. Are you entitled to back pay? Reach out to Moore & Associates today to learn more.
Moore & Associates
440 Louisiana Street, Suite 675
Houston, TX 77002