DOL Sues Kinder Morgan for Failing to Pay Overtime to 4,500 Workers

DOL claims the company failed to pay more than $1 million in overtime compensation to approximately 4,500 current and former workers. "We will vigorously defend our pay practices in court and expect to be vindicated," the company responded.

The U.S. Department of Labor has announced the filing of a lawsuit against Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP for their failure to pay more than $1 million in overtime compensation to approximately 4,500 current and former operators, technicians, maintenance workers, laborers, and administrative nonexempt employees in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The department's suit asks the court to order the defendants to pay the full amount of back wages due, along with liquated damages, and to prohibit them from violating the law in the future.

Kinder Morgan Inc., owner of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, is one of the largest pipeline transportation and energy storage companies in North America, with an enterprise value of $30 billion and approximately 8,000 employees nationwide. The defendants provide services to local oil refineries and clients such as Conoco/Philips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell.

Emily Mir Thompson, manager of PR & Corporate Communications for Kinder Morgan in Houston, said the company's position on the issue is this:

  • "The Department of Labor's decision to file suit is disappointing and unnecessary. Kinder Morgan cooperated with the DOL throughout its investigation and did all it could reasonably do to resolve this matter amicably.
  • We materially follow the law and we pay market-based competitive bonuses to our employees.
  • We will vigorously defend our pay practices in court and expect to be vindicated."

"There is no excuse for denying workers their rightful wages, and this lawsuit demonstrates that the department will use all available enforcement tools, including litigation and penalties, to ensure accountability and compliance with the law," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

The complaint was filed against both companies in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, after an investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found allegedly systemic violations nationwide resulting from the employers' failure to include certain bonuses in overtime pay calculations for these employees.

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