Company Paid $619,830 in Back Wages for Failing to Pay Employees for Mandatory Meetings

Monday, June 9, 2014

Justiss Oil Co. Inc. has paid 270 current and former employees $619,830 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions. The investigation found that the company violated the FLSA when it did not pay its workers for the time spent at mandatory staff meetings and failed to record the time spent at these meetings.

The investigation, conducted by the division’s New Orleans District Office, revealed that Justiss Oil failed to pay workers for time spent attending mandatory safety and orientation meetings that occurred on drilling rigs and platforms at the beginning of each shift. The employer required the rig workers, who typically have a seven-day tour of duty, to come to the meetings 30 minutes before the start of their 12-hour shift. Because the employer failed to consider time spent at mandatory safety meetings as compensable, employees were not paid for all hours worked and did not receive all of the overtime pay to which they were entitled.

Justiss, established in 1946, is an oil field services company with about 408 employees. It is mainly a land-based drilling, exploration, production and well-servicing company. The company has paid all back wages in full and agreed to comply with all applicable FLSA provisions in the future.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Workers who are not employed in agriculture and not otherwise exempt from overtime compensation are entitled to time and one-half their regular rates of pay for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law.

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