Lawsuits Claim Wage Abuses at Marcellus Shale

Pennsylvania has become the center of attention when it comes to drilling for natural gas. But some of that attention has turned negative as two federal lawsuits and a state investigation have shed light on possible pay abuses at companies tapping the Marcellus shale.

According to an article on, two companies are being accused of failing to pay employees for all the hours they work as well as misclassifying employees to avoid paying overtime, workers’ compensation, and unemployment services. One company provides security services at the well site and the other company provides fracking services.

One class action lawsuit that is being proposed claims that operators aren’t paid for all the hours they work, that accurate time sheets aren’t kept, and that time-and-a-half isn’t paid when an employee works overtime, although it is required by law. The class action suit is on behalf of current and former employees.

In another suit, employees of the security company claim they were not initially paid overtime, and that their wages were later reduced so that overtime could be paid without actually increasing their pay. The lawsuit also claims that guards were misclassified as independent contractors to avoid paying state and federal wage requirements. An investigation by the state Department of Labor and Industry is now underway.

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