PITTSBURGH – A federal court in Pittsburgh has entered a consent judgment in which a company that provided land services for the oil and gas industry admitted liability for more than $40 million in back wages and damages after a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found Fair Labor Standards Act violations.
After more than six years of contested litigation, Holland Acquisition Inc. – which operated as Holland Services in Washington, Pennsylvania – conceded liability in a consent judgment approved today by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The court affirmed the company’s liability for $43,276,638 in back wages and liquidated damages owed to 700 workers.
Investigators with the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that from Aug. 20, 2012 to April 21, 2019, Holland Services improperly classified abstractors, title examiners and landmen as independent contractors. The employer also failed to pay overtime, as required by law, when employees worked more than 40 hours in a week. The company also did not keep accurate records of all daily and weekly hours employees worked, and instead only recorded the number of days worked per week. Holland’s actions violated the FLSA’s overtime and recordkeeping requirements.
“When employers misclassify employees as independent contractors and fail to pay workers their hard-earned wages, we must hold them accountable under the law,” said Wage and Hour Acting Administrator Jessica Looman. “We encourage employers to review their pay practices to ensure they comply with federal law, and to contact the Department of Labor for the information needed to avoid violations.”
“We hope that other employers in this industry use the outcome of this investigation and court action as an opportunity to review their own pay practices to ensure they comply with the law. Failure to do so, as we saw in this case, comes at a significant cost,” said Regional Solicitor Oscar L. Hampton III in Philadelphia. “The Department of Labor is committed to enforcing the law and protecting workers no matter how long it takes.”
View the complaint and consent judgment.
Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, Holland Services provided abstract/title examinations for the oil and gas industry. The company has filed for bankruptcy. The department is continuing to litigate the case against the company’s former Chief Operating Officer Bryan Gaudin.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the agency, contact the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.