July 27, 2011
Kinder Morgan and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners have agreed to pay about $830,000 in back wages to 4,659 current and former employees after federal regulators said the workers were shorted on overtime and regular wages.
The back wages will resolve a U.S. Department of Labor lawsuit that alleged the pipeline transportation and energy storage business violated federal wage and hour laws. The lawsuit, filed in February in a Houston federal court, also requested that employees who were shorted receive an equal amount in damages, but the agreement makes no reference to damages.
“We have reached a settlement with the DOL that we believe is in the best interest of the company and our employees,” Kinder Morgan spokesman Larry Pierce said in a statement Tuesday.
“We believe that the company followed the law and that overtime pay was properly calculated, and we take extreme pride in making sure that our employees are treated fairly,” he added.
The Labor Department brought the lawsuit after its investigation uncovered what it called “systemic violations” of federal overtime laws at 11 Kinder Morgan locations in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas. Pierce disputed the notion that the alleged violations were “systemic.”
According to the Labor Department, Kinder Morgan improperly rounded work hours in the company’s favor and failed to pay employees at several locations who attended meetings before their shifts began.
The company also did not include bonuses paid to employees when it calculated overtime compensation as required under federal law, according to the Labor Department.
Article: Houston Chronicle
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