The plaintiffs were represented at trial by Allen Vaught, head of the Employment Law Group at Baron & Budd. The court found the oil and gas drilling contractor had not properly compensated employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to include shift differentials and bonuses in regular rates of pay to calculate overtime wages owed.
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.
“We are very pleased that Court ruled in favor of these hard working oilfield employees,” Vaught said following the October announcement. “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.”
Leaders In The Law has reported on Baron & Budd‘s other notable resolutions, including a $90 million settlement with from AstraZeneca in August. In that resolution the pharmaceutical company allegedly targeted the Texas Medicaid system with a fraudulent marketing scheme for its expensive and powerful atypical antipsychotic drugs Seroquel IR and Seroquel XR from 2007 through 2010.
Visit the online or print editions of Texas’ Leaders In The Law to learn about other top practitioners in the Lone Star State.