How California Oil Refineries Put Their Workers Over the Barrel By Shorting Pay and Breaks

As you know from working in the industry, oil production is no longer really centered in the Middle East – there are major producers right here in California pumping out millions of barrels of oil each day.

The work happens in refineries that span the state including places like Bakersfield, Carson, El Segundo, Long Beach, Wilmington, Martinez, Santa Maria, Richmond, and Commerce.

While these refineries are spread across California, they produce for some of the world’s largest oil giants:

  • Alon USA
  • Valero
  • Tesoro
  • Chevron
  • Phillips 66
  • Shell
  • Greka Energy
  • PBF Energy

To literally keep the oil pumping, refineries need to keep the wells running around-the-clock. To do this, capable teams must be working on the wells at all times.

Refinery field logistics involve moving workers around from station to station to ensure a high integrity standard in production efforts (such as drilling and extracting oil from underground reservoirs). Problems and crises frequently arise, causing “all hands on deck” situations that result in interruptions or complete overruns of meal breaks and rest periods.

To be best equipped for these situations, refinery policies dictate that the workforce needs to stay connected via walkie-talkie, effectively keeping the workers on the clock at all times Meal breaks are also pushed past the 5th hour of the workers’ shifts (important because in these instances, one is supposed to receive an extra hour of pay from the employer).   Refineries also loosen the rules and fail to adhere to FLSA guidelines that state that overtime pay is time-a-half for hours over 40 in a week (time and a half between hours 8-12 and double-time pay after 12 hours in California).

If you are working in real-time operations, field operations, extraction, exploration, excavation, surveying, well construction, or integrated activity planning at a refinery, the above-described scenarios are probably familiar to you. Regardless of your role in the refinery production process, you are entitled to clearly defined breaks and payments as outlined in the FLSA.

We often receive inquires about labor conditions from facility operators, equipment operators, control room operators, fieldmen, service operators, and wireline operators. If you spend your time rigging up, rigging down, managing field maintenance, snubbing, working as coiled tube operators, processing paperwork and permits, or monitoring production operations and you feel that you are not receiving proper rest and meal breaks, or you notice your check is lacking overtime and penalty pay for missed meals, we’d like to hear from you.

Carter Law Firm is a leading employment law and labor law attorney team in California with expertise in wage and hour violations, as well as harassment, discrimination, and other workplace rights violations.

Use the contact form below to reach out to us confidentially. We want to hear about your situation, and we will take your concerns seriously.