North Dakota may be the geographic center of the North American continent, but the state is extremely remote in other ways. With a population of under 650,000 people spread across a vast area of 70,000 square miles, North Dakota may seem like a mere pawn in the chess game of the American economy. However, the state turns out a modest domestic product of around $25 billion a year, and many believe that ND’s economy is set for a serious up-swing, thanks to developments in the energy sector.
In addition to agriculture, fur trading, farming, and machining, North Dakota supports a significant energy industry. Western ND is home to an oil reserve potentially more than a dozen times bigger than the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge oil reserve. The state also offers tremendous potential for wind energy business. With the advent of federal funding for newer, “greener” energy, North Dakota may soon see some of its more than 1.2 billion kilowatt hours of potential wind energy harvested to power the nation.
The North Dakota Department of Labor fields a wide variety of employment-related claims, including:
- Employment discrimination. Workers who experience unfair treatment due to their disability, age, religion, gender, nationality, race, or other protected attribute can appeal to the DOL to hold their employers accountable.
- Sexual harassment. When an employer harbors or encourages a hostile work environment, employees often suffer from undesirable circumstances, such as sexual advances, lewd comments or jokes, or demands for sexual favors in return for promotions or other career benefits.
- Wage and hour violations. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) prohibits employers from using tactics such as time card falsification, incorrect employee categorization, and pressuring employees to perform work when not on the clock to deny workers their wages and increase their profits.
This agency serves both employers and laborers, pursuant to state code Titles 34 and 14 as well as Administrative Chapters 47-02-07. North Dakota’s Department of Labor deals with employee retaliation, labor standards, human rights, and discrimination. It conducts employment agency licensing, independent contractor verification, training for employers, and educational services. The ND DOL also has enforcement authority to punish employers who violate state law and to demand compensation for injured or mistreated workers.
North Dakota’s energy and wind industries attract risk-prone speculators. Unfortunately, the workers who assist these speculators often labor under dubious arrangements. Independent contractors, scouts, and part time energy workers may not be aware of their rights under the state’s wage and hour rules. In some cases, energy sector employees work long and dangerous shifts without overtime pay, breaks, or proper training. In addition, some speculators lack the proper licenses or certifications to operate their businesses safely.
If you have been injured at an ND industry job or otherwise harassed, discriminated against, or mistreated, you may fear what will happen if you take legal action. This reticence is normal but unnecessary. State and federal laws protect you from retaliation and empower you to confront illegal practices. Find out more about your rights under North Dakota law by connecting with an experienced local employment attorney.