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Highly Paid Rig Worker Eligible for OT, Full Fifth Circuit Says

Sept. 10, 2021, 12:02 AM

A manager of offshore oil rig workers for Helix Energy Solutions Group is eligible for overtime pay under federal law despite making more than $200,000 a year, a sharply divided full slate of Fifth Circuit judges ruled Thursday.

Helix argued that toolpusher Michael Hewitt was exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime requirements because he was a “highly compensated executive employee.” Hewitt worked for various job “hitches” on oil rigs, about a month each time, and Helix said it paid him on a daily rate.

The court, in an opinion from Judge James C. Ho, said because Hewitt’s salary ...