After ending their 12-hour shifts, workers at Citgo’s Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery spent an average of 15–30 minutes briefing incoming workers on the next shift – time that was not compensated. Following a US Department of Labor investigation, those employees will receive $460,853 in unpaid overtime wages, or roughly two weeks of income, for each of the 239 affected employees.
The US Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division investigated Citgo as part of an ongoing, multiyear, multistate compliance initiative in the oil and gas industry. The division has recovered more than $37 million in back wages for thousands of workers nationally in more than 200 investigations since 2012.
Investigators found that Citgo’s incoming shift workers relieved colleagues at the 12-hour mark; however, they had to brief the incoming shift – a process that took up to 30 minutes. When employees worked more than 40 hours in a week, the unrecorded and unpaid time workers spent briefing their replacements resulted in violations of the overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week. In general, hours worked includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal work activity to the last activity of the workday. Additionally, the law requires that accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment be maintained.
Citgo has more than 1,000 employees at its Corpus Christi location and refines 157,000 barrels of crude oil per day.