BATON ROUGE, LA (September 20th, 2021) – A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Hewitt v Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. deemed a highly compensated employee eligible for overtime payments. The ruling not only goes against historical practice but was also directly contrary to decisions rendered by the federal First and Second Circuit courts when confronted with facts similar to this particular case.
After the decision was released, Louisiana Oil & Gas Association President Mike Moncla issued the following statement:
“The Louisiana Oil & Gas Association understands the importance of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and its impact on wage earners. However, this law was written in the spirit to protect lower-income employees, not highly compensated employees earning upwards of $200,000 like in this case.
These are the kinds of lawsuits that continue to chase investment out of Louisiana and punish employers that furnish high-paying jobs. We hope this case will proceed to the United States Supreme Court for reversal.
We also believe that Congress should address this through legislation. Some provisions of the FLSA are clearly out of touch with the oil and gas industry. Other occupations such as firefighters and police officers have been given special overtime considerations within the FLSA guidelines. The industry should be provided similar exemptions given the unique scheduling and unpredictable nature of oil and gas work.”