Christian Antkowiak, Shareholder in the firm's Labor & Employment section, authored "Wage & Hour Laws: Understanding Facts Helps Avoid FLSA Issues," published in The American Oil & Gas Reporter.
If it seems like the oil and gas industry has been hit particularly hard by wage and hour lawsuits over the past few years, well, that observation is both right and wrong. The oil and gas industry has seen a dramatic increase in Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) filings. But so, too, has nearly every other industry.
While 2017 numbers are still being tabulated, there were 8,308 FLSA filings in 2016 alone. Compare that with 2006, when there were slightly more than 4,000 filings. In 1996, there were less than 1,700. This represents a more than 450 percent increase in only 20 years. The oil and gas industry has seen similar trends, as federal records show oil and gas companies are among the top violators of FLSA wage laws today.
Still, after years of steadily increasing filings, the number of lawsuits continues to come as a shock to many in the industry. Why is that? Have the laws suddenly changed regarding overtime? Are companies suddenly doing something wrong? These lawsuits did not appear at this rate years ago, so today’s oil and gas workers must simply have it out for employers, right?