FLSA Misclassifications Cost Halliburton $18 Million in Overtime

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

September 28, 2015

The services and construction company Halliburton has agreed to pay $18 million in overtime wages to about 1,000 employees after it misclassified them as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The US Department of Labor (DOL) called it "one of the largest recoveries of overtime wages in recent years."

The DOL said it investigated Halliburton, which is one of America's 100 biggest companies, as part of an ongoing, multi-year compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry in the southwest and northeast regions.

Halliburton misclassified salaried employees in 28 job positions -- including field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisors, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists -- as exempt and did not pay them one and one-half times their regular rate of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, according to the DOL. Halliburton also failed to keep track of employees' work hours, in violation of the FLSA's recordkeeping requirements.

"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," US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez said 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."

In an email, Halliburton stated, "During a self-audit, Halliburton identified a certain number of jobs that were misclassified as exempt. The company re-classified the identified positions, and throughout this process, Halliburton has worked earnestly and cooperatively with [the DOL] to equitably resolve this situation."