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By Ben Penn
Sept. 8 — Three Chevron Corp. subsidiaries agreed to pay 750 employees $1.5 million in overtime back wages and liquidated damages under a voluntary arrangement with the Labor Department.
The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division found several company sites failed to pay hourly field operators time-and-a-half when mandatory pre-shift meetings caused them to work more than 40 hours per week, the agency announced Sept. 8.
Chevron cooperated with the WHD in an audit of 13 of its U.S. oil and gas refineries, Alberto Raymond, assistant district director at the WHD’s San Francisco office, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 8.
When WHD investigators first identified the overtime issue at one refinery, the division approached the company’s headquarters in San Ramon, Calif., to determine a path to nationwide compliance, Raymond said.
“We wanted to address what appeared to be a systemic issue and work with them to resolve the violations,” Raymond said. The nationwide probe found five of 13 refineries violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying the overtime premium when workers attended meetings.
“Chevron is committed to complying with the Fair Labor Standards Act and fully cooperated with the Department of Labor in its audit,” company spokesman Kent Robertson said in a statement. “We have taken proactive steps with the Department of Labor to resolve this matter for our valued employees.”
Chevron has already paid workers the entirety of the $750,000 in back wages and $750,000 in liquidated damages, Raymond said. Further, the company committed to crediting employees with at least 15 minutes of paid work for all pre-shift meetings going forward, even if they last less than 15 minutes.
The five refineries found to be in violation are operated by three company subsidiaries: Chevron Products Co. in San Ramon, Chevron Pipeline Co. in Bellaire, Texas, and Chevron North America Exploration and Production Co. in Houston.
The settlement is part of a broader WHD enforcement approach targeting oil and gas and related industries. The initiative has led to more than 1,000 concluded cases, recovering about $41.5 million for some 29,000 oil and gas workers, the division said in a statement.
The WHD’s Raymond praised the cooperation of Chevron attorneys in helping his district office “achieve this great outcome.”
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