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Mud logging investigation pays off

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Mud logging technicians are workers who create a record of boreholes and then inform owners about the best ways to drill for prospective oil.

These technicians are essential within the oil industry and most often do not work a traditional 8 hour, 40 hours-a-week schedule.

And because of this, a number of mud loggers have been cheated out of overtime and back wages.

In one case, an investigation by the Department of Labor revealed that more than 120 mud loggers were improperly classified as nonexempt employees by a company in New Mexico, and therefore did not qualify for overtime pay. The investigation also found that the loggers were not paid the proper hourly wage in accordance with federal law. In fact, the agency discovered that some workers were only paid $75 for a 24-hour shift.

Cynthia Watson, regional administrator for the DOL's Wage and Hour Division in the Southwest, said that the logging technicians who were part of the investigation often worked up to 100 hours within a workweek while performing physically and mentally demanding work. She said the lack of compliance by the company underscores an overall problem within the oil and gas extraction industry.

As a result of the DOL's findings, the company finally agreed to pay almost $600,000 in minimum wage and overtime back wages.