NEW ORLEANS (CN) - A class of more than 1,000 oil spill claims adjusters say they worked more than 40 hours a week without overtime pay for BP and Worley Catastrophe Response. Lead plaintiff John Altier sued on behalf of an estimated class of 1,300, who were hired to research and pay claims to victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.
Altier says that he and the class "were paid at a daily rate of pay. Plaintiff, and all other similarly situated claims adjusters were specifically paid the daily rate of pay for a 12-hour day. Based on that rate of pay, the plaintiff's hourly wage was $68.75 per hour."
He says that he and the class "worked significantly more than 40 hours in most workweeks." He adds that they were not supervisors nor administrators, were not paid "on a salary basis," and were not exempt from overtime rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
However, he says, "defendants never paid plaintiff, or any other similarly situated claims adjusters any overtime, at time-and-a-half their regular rate of pay."
He adds that they knowingly and intentionally failed to pay plaintiff, and all other similarly situated claims adjusters' overtime."
Altier says he complained on several occasions to management about not being paid for the overtime he worked," but "despite repeated requests by plaintiff to be for the overtime hours management refused to pay him."
He says they fired him on Sept. 25.
In a second class action, Altier sued Worley Catastrophe Response, but not BP, demanding more than $50 million. In this complaint, Altier claims Worley "misappropriated tens of millions of dollars" from the class by "systematically and fraudulently breaching contracts."
This complaint alleges the Worley promised the claims adjusters 65 percent of the profits per day, but shorted them by 17 percent.
The second class action says that "by express written agreement, plaintiff and all others were to have received 65 percent of the amount defendant received related to daily services being provided by each adjuster. Defendant failed to and refused to pay the proper percentage of the $1,200 - $1,300 per day it was receiving, instead only paying out $550 per day, or just 48 percent."
The complaint continues: "Defendant intentionally and fraudulently breach[ed] said contracts by knowingly failing to properly pay unto plaintiffs the proper percentage under the contract, instead paying plaintiff and others similarly situated only $550 per day."
Altier claims the class has "suffered damages of between $230 and $295 for each day they performed services under said contract, and the defendant was unjustly enriched, being between $53,000,000 and $69,030,000."
The class is represented in both claims by J.P. Hughes Jr. of Oxford, Miss.