About the Lawsuit

On October 17, 2011, two employees of Precision Drilling filed a federal lawsuit in the Middle District of Pennsylvania seeking nation-wide collective action status relating to allegations that Precision Drilling forced its employees to work off the clock by failing to pay them for all compensable time worked.   The Court conditionally certified the case as a collective class action on January 7, 2013.

In particular, the lawsuit asserts that hourly employees Precision Drilling were forced to report to work prior to the official start time of their shifts. The lawsuit asserts that hourly employees working on drilling rigs for Precision Drilling were forced to report to a location other than the production area where they changed into (“donned”) their  personal protective equipment (“PPE”), including equipment such as hard hats, coveralls, goggles, ear plugs, boots, and gloves, among other PPE. The lawsuit contends that wearing the PPE is mandated by OSHA and Precision Drilling’s own safety regulations. Plaintiffs contend that they were not paid for the time at the start of the day when such equipment was donned. Similarly, at the end of the day, the lawsuit asserts that employees were forced to clock out before proceeding to the location where they changed out of (“doffed”) such PPE.

The Plaintiffs further contend that Precision Drilling failed to pay them for the time spent walking to and from the changing location.  Finally, Plaintiffs contend that they are not compensated for all the time spent in pre and post-shift safety meetings.

The lawsuit asserts Precision Drilling’s refusal to compensate its employees for such “donning and doffing” and pre and post-shift meeting times violates the law. In 2005, the Supreme Court held in a similar case that time spent walking between the locker rooms where meat processing workers donned their protective equipment and the production area was compensable.IBP v. Alvarez, 546 U.S. 21 (2005). The same is asserted here.

According to the Complaint, most of this unpaid time consists of time worked in excess of 40 hours per workweek. Accordingly, most of the off-the-clock hours are overtime hours. The lawsuit therefore seeks compensation for 1.5 times each employees’ regular rate of pay for each unpaid hour the employee spent donning and doffing. In addition, the law permitsdouble damages for intentional violations. It is asserted here that Precision Drilling’s conduct was intentional. Accordingly, the lawsuit is actually seeking to compensate the employees subject to this alleged unlawful policy at an amount equal to 3 times their regular rate of pay for each unpaid overtime hour.

If you have worked for Precision Drilling in the United States in the last three years, you may be entitled to compensation. Richard S. Swartz, Esq., and Justin L. Swidler, Esq., of Swartz Swidler, LLC, represent the Plaintiffs in this action. Both attorneys are happy to speak to you confidentially regarding your rights in this action. There is no charge for the consultation, and there are no out of pocket charges to you. Ultimately, the attorneys will only be paid if there is a recovery in this action.