Can My Employer Fire Me for Filing a Jones Act Lawsuit?
Offshore work is not for the timid. Offshore workers face hazards each day that could result in serious injury or death if an accident were to occur. Injured offshore workers have special legal protections known as the Jones Act. The Jones Act provides compensation and benefits for maritime employees. If a worker is injured offshore, he or she can file a Jones Act lawsuit against his or her employer as a means of getting compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages from the injury.
Even with these protections in place, many offshore workers do not take full advantage of their legal rights. It is rumored in the industry that workers who file a Jones Act lawsuit may be fired by their employer and placed on a "black list" that effectively bars them from being hired by another company in the maritime industry. Where this rumor began is uncertain, but maritime companies are happy to keep it alive because it deters workers from filing lawsuits.
Can I Be Fired for Filing a Jones Act Lawsuit?
It is important for offshore workers to understand the legal rights that the Jones Act affords them. The Jones Act provides injured workers with the right to file a lawsuit against his or her employer. This does not mean that your employer won't fire you for filing a Jones Act lawsuit; it simply means that they cannot do so without consequence.
If your employer does fire you or retaliate against you in anyway because you filed a Jones Act case, you can bring an additional wrongful discharge lawsuit against your employer as well. If it is shown that you were illegally fired, you could be entitled to additional compensation for wages lost as a result of your termination.
If you believe you have been fired or retaliated against because you filed a lawsuit against your employer, contact our Jones Act lawyers today to learn how we can help.