Department of Labor to Pay Hefty Attorney’s Fees
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was ordered to pay more than $565,000 in attorneys’ fees to Gate Guard Services, a Texas based oilfield company.
This case goes all the way back to 2010 when the DOL ordered Gate Guard to pay approximately $6.2 million in back wages and overtime for improperly classifying workers. However, it was found that the roughly 400 gate attendants responsible for logging vehicles in and out of restricted oil and gas fields were properly classified as independent contractors.
The decision is a significant win for small businesses that have felt increasing pressure from government regulations as of late.
“The Department of Labor and the EEOC are aggressively pursuing employers, and employers are starting to fight back,” said Annette Idalski, lead counsel on the case, “Not only are they winning those fights, but courts are awarding attorneys’ fees for unsubstantiated lawsuits filed by the government.”
The more than half a million dollar decision is meant to compensate for the nearly $1 million Gate Guard spent to fight the allegations of the case that the Judge wrote“should have [been] abandoned.”
“It’s costly and difficult for employers to litigate against the weight of the government,” Idalski said. “This judgment shows employers that courts will take a stand against the government when it is wrong.”