Multiple Violations of Employees Rights Found with Morco Geological
Posted: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 11:44 am
A year-long investigation by the US Labor Department has found that Morco Geological Services, a mud logging provider for gas and oil drilling firms, underpaid workers more than half a million dollars. The company attempted to avoid paying minimum wage, as well as overtime as required by federal law, by mislabeling employees as exempt workers. The workers, who provided support for oil and gas fracking companies, met the legal definition of employees. However, Morco treated them as non-employee labor and did not follow legal wage and hour requirements for employees.
According to a department spokesperson, employees were paid daily rates instead of hourly wages. Some worked shifts lasting as long as 24 hours for as little as $75 per day. Certain employees were forced to work up to 100 hours a week at less than half the federal minimum wage and were told they were not employees and were therefore ineligible for overtime pay. The investigation also revealed that Morco violated Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) recordkeeping requirements by neglecting to keep track of its employees’ hours.
“Our ongoing enforcement initiative seeks to identify and remedy such common violations to protect workers and ensure a level playing field for the law-abiding employers in this industry,” stated department official Cynthia Watson.
As a result of the investigation, Morco will pay nearly $600,000 in back pay to past and current employees who were underpaid due to the company’s improper classifications. Morco has also agreed to bring its recordkeeping procedures into line with FLSA requirements.
The investigation into Morco Geological Services was part of a much larger investigation into companies that participate in the oil and gas fracking process in the American Southwest. As part of the division’s efforts to prevent FLSA violations in the oil and gas industries, the division is making efforts to make employees aware of their federal rights and to provide employers with the information they need to bring their companies into compliance with federal guidelines.