Halliburton to Pay a Whopping $18.3 Million in Workers’ Back Wages

Photo (cc) by Lindsey Gira

Halliburton will soon pay nearly $18.3 million in back overtime pay to 1,016 workers across the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the owed wages were discovered in a federal investigation, which found that the Texas-based oilfield service giant had wrongly categorized employees in 28 job positions as being exempt from overtime pay. Impacted employees included field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisers, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists.

The government said failing to pay overtime when employees worked more than 40 hours in a week, as well as not maintaining records of the hours they worked, put Halliburton in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“The Department of Labor takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure workers receive the wages they have earned. This settlement will put millions of dollars where they belong — in the pockets of hardworking people and their families,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in a statement. “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.”

Halliburton discovered the jobs had been misclassified after conducting a self-audit, company spokeswoman Susie McMichael said in an email to the Texas Tribune,

“The company reclassified the identified positions, and throughout this process, Halliburton has worked earnestly and cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Labor to equitably resolve this situation,” McMichael wrote.

In recent years, the Labor Department has been cracking down on labor law compliance in the fast-growing oil and gas industry. The department said the Halliburton case was “one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages” for the agency.

As one of the world’s largest oil and gas services providers, Halliburton has more than 70,000 employees in 80 countries across the globe. Amidst steep declines in crude oil prices, Halliburton slashed nearly 14,000 jobs this summer.

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