UNIQUE LITIGATION RISKS AND CHALLENGES FACING THE OIL & GAS INDUSTRY
The oil & gas industry has expanded substantially over the past decade, and particularly within the last five years, as relatively new cost-effective methods of oil and gas extraction have combined with vast US shale resources, resulting in a dramatic increase in the production of oil & gas. Along with this production growth, the oil & gas industry has also experienced marked growth in employment. As this growth continues, oil and gas companies face increased risk of labour and employment litigation and Department of Labour investigations into wage and hour violations. Additionally, with the current administrations’ recent purposed changes to the White Collar Exemption law, there is increased risk of misclassification of employees (i.e., salaried instead of hourly). Oil & gas companies are a prime target for increased employment litigation as they employee hundreds of thousands of people across the US, pay very good wages and have unique employment arrangements. Moreover, the recent declines in crude oil prices highlight the impact on employment trends and potential risks of employment litigation for oil & gas companies as oil and gas market dynamics are likely to continue.
There is substantial data available that summarises the growth in employment and wages for oil & gas companies. Employment and wages data is routinely gathered by the US government agency, Bureau of Labour Statistics. Additionally, statistics on labour and employment federal case filings and Department of Labour investigations, along with levied violations, also are available. A large database of relevant labour statistics, federal case filings and crude oil prices over the past 15 years were gathered, synthesised and analysed.
Oct-Dec 2015 issue