Oil spill worker files class action claiming workers were not paid for overtime
NEW ORLEANS - An oil spill cleanup worker has filed a class action lawsuit against his employer claiming that hundreds of workers were misclassified as independent workers and were not paid overtime wages.
Dennise Prejean, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, filed suit against O'Brien's Response Management Inc. on April 24 in federal court in New Orleans.
In April 2010, O'Brien's responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and mobilized thousands of employees to assist in the cleanup efforts. According to Prejean's complaint, the employees worked in excess of 12 hours per day, six to seven days per week and were not paid for overtime. O'Brien's classified the workers as independent contractors and paid them a day rate with no overtime pay.
Prejean was employed by O'Brien's from July 2010 to May 2011 as an independent contractor and was paid $500 per work day. He was reclassified as an employee in Jan. 2011.
The lawsuit will represent all of O'Brien's oil spill cleanup workers who were classified as independent contractors, paid a day-rate and worked over forty hours in at least one workweek without receiving overtime pay.
The plaintiff is seeking damages for unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated damages, attorney's fees, court costs, and interest.
Prejean is represented by Derrick Earles of Brian Caubarreaux & Associates in Marksville and David Moulton in Bruckner Burch in Houston. A jury trial is requested.
U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier is assigned to the case.
Case No. 2:12-cv-01045