Department of Labor Continues Attack on Oil Companies: Chevron Agrees to Pony Up $1.5 Million in Overtime and Penalties

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04/27/2017

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Department of Labor Continues Attack on Oil Companies: Chevron Agrees to Pony Up $1.5 Million in Overtime and Penalties

By: Anthony Oceguera

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced Friday that the Chevron Corporation had agreed to pay $1.5 million in overtime back wages and penalties following a DOL investigation that found that Chevron had violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime provisions by not paying approximately 750 hourly field operators for time spent attending mandatory pre- and post-shift relief meetings, where duties were turned over to employees on the next shift.  The DOL’s investigation also found that Chevron had violated recordkeeping requirements by not accurately recording the number of hours employees worked. 

The DOL’s investigation of Chevron’s practices was part of an initiative that started in 2012 targeting the oil and gas industry.  In 2014, the Shell Oil Co. and Motivate Enterprises LLC, which markets Shell gasoline, agreed to pay $4.5 million after a DOL investigation found similar violations.  According to the DOL, it has completed more than 1,000 investigations nationally since 2012 resulting in more than $41.5 million in back wages.

COUNSEL TO MANAGEMENT:

Employees must be compensated for all hours worked, including mandatory meetings like those at issue in the DOL’s investigation of Chevron.  Otherwise, employers could find themselves targets of the DOL or the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (“DLSE”), the California agency responsible for investigating similar wage and hour claims brought under California law.  As the Chevron payout indicates, even failing to pay a relatively small group of employees for ten or fifteen minutes of time spent in a pre- or post-shift meeting can result in millions in liability for back wages and penalties. 

If you are facing an investigation by the DOL or DLSE, or have questions regarding whether or not you are properly paying employees for various pre-shift meetings, please contact the experts at the Saqui Law Group.

 


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