Halliburton Bid to Dismiss Claims Made in Wage Suit

A former employee of Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. (an oil and gas provider out of California) filed a proposed class action lawsuit alleging wage violations (Guerrero v. Halliburton Energy Services Inc. et al., case number 1:16-cv-01300, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.) In response to Halliburton Energy Services’ request for dismissal of the amended complaint, the Plaintiff accused the energy giant of copying bids for dismissal in other cases with similarities to the current suit.

The company’s bid to dismiss Geurrero’s claim came last month after an amended complaint was filed. U.S. Chief District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill permitted the amended filing when the judge dismissed the suit that includes allegations of California labor law violations due to a failure to provide rest breaks and pay wages for all hours worked, etc. The plaintiff responded to the dismissal bid submitted by Halliburton by pointing out that the dismissal motion filed was almost identical to that filed in every case with similar claims that Guerrero listed in his first amended complaint.

Guerrero claims that his former employer has no evidentiary support or analysis for claims that Guerrero and the putative class are exempt from California’s overtime laws. Allegations Halliburton faces in the suit include claims that Halliburton policy requires workers to work through meal periods, the company fails to comply with California labor law by providing employees with first meal periods within the first five hours of a work shift, claims for missed rest periods, etc.

Halliburton insists that Guerrero’s overtime claims included in the amended complaint are not legally supported because his hours were regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and this makes him exempt from overtime eligibility. The company also insists that Guerrero failed to provide factual support for claims that the company denied him legally compliant meal and rest periods. Halliburton also urged the court to strike Guerrero’s allegations regarding their alleged failure to maintain accurate records in violation of California Industrial Welfare Commission’s Wage Orders due to irrelevance since Guerrero cannot allege a viable claim for the violation.

Guerrero’s proposed class action includes allegations that he worked as a nonexempt truck driver as well as industrial worker for Halliburton, but failed to receive proper compensation in accordance with employment law. The suit was first filed in state court, but was later moved to federal court.

Halliburton’s responding dismissal bid claimed Guerrero’s lawsuit failed as a matter of law as there were no alleged facts included as support of a cognizable legal theory and because the various claims included were riddled with substantive defects that left too many questions. Judge O’Neill was inclined to agree and on November 2nd, 2016, he did so officially – stating that facts were missing from the complaint, specifically noting the need for dates as to when the alleged failures to pay straight time and overtime wages occurred. He also agreed with Halliburton that Guerrero failed to satisfy the requirements of Rule 9 in claims that the company failed to pay wages at the time of his termination.

If you have questions regarding overtime or overtime wage calculation, please get in touch with one of the experienced southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik