I am an insurance adjuster and paid a “day rate” regardless of hours worked. Should I be paid overtime?
Employers often use a job description of “day rate” to deprive worker of their rightful compensation for work performed by their employees. The employers calculate that, if a person accepts a job based upon the belief that a day’s pay covers unlimited hours on that day, the employer has no obligation to compensate the employee for extended hours worked.
Claims adjusters working for BP and Worley Catastrophe Response in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have filed a lawsuit claiming that they are owed overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The adjusters claim that they were paid a day rate for working a 12 hour day.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed attacking employers’ use of a day-rate method of paying their employees, including several in the oil and gas industry on behalf of a variety of drilling services company workers such as Pipeline Inspectors, Top Drive Technicians, Service Supervisors, Field Coordinators, Field Engineers and water Truck Drivers. In other cases, courts have determined that companies did not have a valid day-rate plan, and that their failure to pay their employees overtime compensation pay for time worked beyond 40 hours per week violated wage and hour laws, when employees’ wages were reduced when they worked less than a full day and where they failed to pay workers for two fifteen-minute breaks per day. The day-rate plan was not valid because they reduced employees’ pay for hours they did not work and the company was held liable for the amounts deducted from their employees’ break periods.
In still other cases, insurance adjusters have claimed that they were misclassified as administrative employees, and thus treated as exempt from overtime laws. These cases often turn on whether the adjusters exercise “discretion and independent judgment with respect to matters of significance,” as required by the Department of Labor definition of an administrative employee.
The lead plaintiff in the BP lawsuit claims that there are over 1,000 adjusters in the potential class and says he complained to management about not being paid overtime but they refused to pay him. The outcome of that suit could be a landmark decision determining the legality of “day rate” compensation being a defense for overtime violations.
If you are an employee that receives compensation based upon the “day rate” and feel that you should be getting overtime, call the Law Office of Dan Newlin & Partners to see exactly what you are entitled to. In a free phone call you can learn about all your rights when it comes to overtime compensation, and discover if you may be entitled to payment for the excessive hours you work. Don’t trust your employer to tell you what your rights are, ask a lawyer. Call Dan Newlin & Partners now at (407) 888-8000. The call is free, so what are you waiting for?