Supreme Court Declines to Review Oil Rig Worker’s Overtime Exemption Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, D.C., Aug. 7, 2023. (Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to revisit the issue of federal overtime pay exemptions for salaried workers, leaving in place a Tenth Circuit ruling favoring oil and gas equipment service company Schlumberger Technology Corp. over oil rig worker Mark Wilson.

The high court’s decision denies Wilson’s petition to overturn the Tenth Circuit’s ruling, which supported Schlumberger’s argument that Wilson was paid on a salary basis and thus exempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The justices did not provide an explanation for their decision.

Wilson, who worked as a measurement-while-drilling operator, contended in his January petition that Schlumberger’s payment structure—comprising a guaranteed weekly salary supplemented by additional pay based on days worked—did not meet the criteria for overtime exemption. He argued that under Section 541.604(b) of the Code of Federal Regulations, an exempt employee’s salary must maintain a “reasonable relationship” to their total earnings, a standard he claimed Schlumberger did not meet.