Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What are the claims being made in this lawsuit?

A: At its essence, the class action lawsuit filed against Precision Drilling asserts that Precision Drilling violated federal wage law because the company failed to compensate its employees for compensable time . Specifically, the lawsuit asserts that Precision Drilling has a nationwide policy wherein the company does not pay its employees for donning (changing into) and doffing safety (removing) gear at the beginning and end of their shifts. Further, the lawsuit asserts that Precision Drilling fails to pay for compensable time following the donning and doffing of safety gear, including for the time spent by employees walking to and from the changing area and for certain time spent in pre and post-shift safety meetings.

Q: Can I join the lawsuit even if I no longer work for Precision Drilling?

A: Yes. Under federal wage law, you can sue for unpaid and/or underpaid overtime wages going back up to 3 years from the date you file your claim. Accordingly, just because you may no longer work for Precision Drilling does not prevent you from joining the lawsuit.  Per the Court’s January 7, 2013 Order, any employee who has worked for Precision Drilling in the United States in the last three years can join the lawsuit.  

Q: Is there a benefit to joining the lawsuit earlier?

A: Yes.  To join the lawsuit you must file your Consent Form by no later than May 15, 2013.  Further, under federal wage law, you can only recover for violations which have occurred no earlier than 3 years before the date you file your claim. A Court may even lower this amount of time to 2 years if the Court believes that such violations were not willful. Courts have determined that in a “collective action,” you claim is not filed until you affirmatively “opt in” to the lawsuit. Accordingly, until you file an “opt in” notice with the Court, you have not filed your claim against Precision Drilling. Assuming that you have worked for the company at least as far back as 2 or 3 years ago (depending on how the Court rules on the willfulness of Precision Drilling’s actions), with each passing week, you may be losing a week’s worth of recovery because you will be able to collect for one less week.

Looked at another way, the lawsuit in this case was filed in October of 2011. If you filed your opt-in in October, you could assert violations of federal wage law going back as far as October of 2008. However, you would be unable to assert violations of federal law which occurred in September of 2008 (as such a time is outside the 3 year statute of limitations). On the other hand, if you file your opt-in in March of 2013, you could assert violations of federal law going back as far as March of 2010, but not for violations which occurred in February of 2010. Accordingly, with each passing week, another week has passed for which you will no longer be able to seek compensation for under federal wage law.

Q: Who can join the lawsuit?

A: Any hourly rig employee who worked for Precision Drilling inside the United States in the last three years.

Q: Isn’t it true that if the class ultimately receives money for violations of federal wage law, I will receive money even if I did not opt in to the lawsuit?

A: No. This appears to be a common misconception regarding a class or “collective” action, brought under federal wage law, and most other types of class actions. In the United States, there are essentially two different types of class action lawsuits. The first and more familiar type is called an “opt out” class action. The second, and lesser known type of class, is called an “opt in.” Most class actions are “opt out” class actions. If you have ever received compensation or a notice in a class action lawsuit, it is very likely you were a member of an “opt out” class action. In an “opt out” class, you have to take an affirmative action to not be in the lawsuit – hence the name “opt out,” as one must opt out of the lawsuit to not be included and to not recover. In these types of claims, you may be entitled to compensation even if you do absolutely nothing once you receive the notice.

On the other hand, under federal wage law, the class proceeds as an “opt in” collective action. In an “opt in” class action, you must affirmatively opt in to the lawsuit. By failing to take any action, you will not be part of the lawsuit, and you will not recover any compensation under federal law should there be any recovery.

Q: Is Precision Drilling permitted to retaliate against me because I joined the lawsuit?

A: No. The Fair Labor Standards Act, the same federal law which it is asserted Precision Drilling violated through its pay policies and practices, contains a specific provision which makes it unlawful to retaliate or discriminate against any employee because he or she files a complaint under the law.

Furthermore, it would be an absolutely horrendous business and legal decision for Precision Drilling to retaliate against its employees for joining the lawsuit. The employees in this lawsuit are only seeking what is rightfully theirs – wages which they assert they are owed under the law. Further, while not insubstantial, the damages sought are very manageable by a company as large as Precision Drilling. Retaliation would significantly magnify the scope of this lawsuit and would truly be “creating a mountain out of a mole hill.”  Precision Drilling has confirmed that it will take no retaliatory steps against any employee who decides to join the lawsuit.

While we accordingly do not expect and have not heard reports of retaliation, please contact us immediately if you believe you are being retaliated against so that appropriate action may be taken. We are here to protect our clients.

Q: What is the deadline to join?

A: All Consent Forms must be submitted by no later than May 15, 2013.  May 15, 2013 is a firm deadline set by the Court, and we will be unable to file any claim for any person who submits the Consent Form after the deadline  Any Consent Form submitted after 11:59:59 PM EST on May 15, 2013 will accordingly be rejected.

Q: How do I join?

A: The easiest way to join the lawsuit is to submit a Consent Form online.  You can do that here.  If you are having trouble with the online submission or would prefer to send the Consent Form via other means, you may fax a completed Form to: (856) 513-8170; you may e-mail a completed Form to precision@swartz-legal.com; and you may mail a completed Form to: Swartz Swidler, LLC, 1878 Marlton Pike East, Ste. 10, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.  If possible, we prefer that the Form be submitted online.