Oil-field services company embroiled in overtime lawsuit

Jessica Priest By Jessica Priest

April 17, 2014 at 10:04 p.m.
Updated April 17, 2014 at 11:18 p.m.

More than 90 people claim Warrior Energy Services Corp. owes them overtime pay, and they have filed two lawsuits to recoup that money.

In the most recent lawsuit, filed in March, 31 employees and former employees claim the oil-field services company violated the Fair Labor and Standards Act.

They are equipment and crane operators as well as support personnel who say they worked 50 to 100 hours per week, according to court documents.

Attorneys for both parties declined to comment about the case.

One issue is whether the Warrior Energy Services Corp. is exempt from paying overtime because of the Motor Vehicle Carriers Act.

Enacted in 1935, it authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to establish qualifications and maximum hours of service.

Under that act, some employees, such as drivers, driver's helpers, loaders and mechanics, are exempt from receiving overtime, said Juan J. Rodriguez, deputy regional director of the U.S. Department of Labor in Dallas.

The plaintiffs' attorney, Clark Woodson III, of Angleton, wrote in court documents that his clients were entitled to overtime because of the Technical Corrections Act of 2008.

His clients used vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds to service wells on private properties, which would mean they are qualified for overtime, according to the 2008 act. The jobs typically lasted for two to three days.

The employees also swept and cleaned the shops, washed the vehicles and tested equipment, he wrote. In November 2012, some employees were switched from salary to hourly.

Attorney William John Bux, of Houston, meanwhile, contends the company is exempt from paying overtime because of the Motor Vehicle Carriers Act.

He denied in court documents that the employees used vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds. If they had used them, the employees did so outside of work and for an insubstantial amount of time.

This is the second Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit the company has faced since 2013.

Sixty-four people claimed in a suit originally filed in the Southwestern District of North Dakota that they worked between 50 to 120 hours a week and weren't paid overtime.

That suit was later transferred to Victoria, and Federal Judge Gregg Costa dismissed three plaintiffs from the lawsuit.

Warrior Energy Services Corp. also claims two other plaintiffs on that lawsuit never worked for them.

Both cases are pending, and Woodson has asked the court to consolidate them.



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