The United States Supreme Court has ruled that oil drilling platform workers who spend non-working time far out on the Outer Continental Shelf will not get paid for that time even though they cannot leave the platform.
“The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Monday against workers on oil drilling platforms off California who argued they should be paid for the off-work time they spend on the platform, including sleeping.
The high court said that federal law applies to the workers and doesn’t require them to be paid for nonworking time spent at their work location on the Outer Continental Shelf. The workers had argued that California law, which would require them to be compensated for that time, should apply.
The case before the Supreme Court involved Brian Newton, who worked on drilling platforms off California’s coast near Santa Barbara from 2013 to 2015. Like others living and working on the platform, he worked 14-day shifts, spending 12 hours working and 12 hours off work but on standby, where he could not leave the platform.
In 2015, Newton filed a class action lawsuit arguing that his former employer, Parker Drilling, was violating California law by, among other things, failing to pay workers for the time they spent on standby, including the time they spent sleeping.”
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