Doyle Dennis LLP partners Patrick Dennis and Jeff Avery recently teamed up with the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) to present a CLE on the Seaman’s Protection Act, a federal law designed to protect offshore workers from retaliation for reporting safety issues, OSHA violations, or injuries.
The Seaman’s Protection Act (SPA) provides whistleblower protections for seamen. The SPA makes it illegal for an employer or vessel owner to retaliate against seamen for reporting violations of law, including reporting maritime safety issues. Importantly, the law prohibits a seaman from waiving this protection via a contract or release.
The SPA has a number of provisions that protect seaman from being retaliated against that include:
- Reporting in good faith that you believe a maritime safety law is being ignored.
- Testifying in a legal proceeding based around enforcing a maritime safety law.
- Refusing to follow a work order when you have a reasonable belief it could cause injury
- Reporting a work-related injury to the vessel owner.
- Conferring information to the National Transportation Safety Board, the Secretary, or a public official regarding a maritime injury or death that occurred in connection with vessel transportation.
Under the SPA, a seaman is an individual engaged or employed in any capacity on board a U.S. flagged vessel or vessel owned by a U.S. citizen. This may include the following types of employees: longshoremen, stevedores; deckhands, engineers/wheelmen; captains; dock workers; ship medics, welders, tool-pushers, roustabouts, and other maritime employees. In addition, the SPA may cover some of the following types of vessels: cruise ships, drilling vessels, cargo vessels, tug boats, research vessels, jack-up rigs, crew boats, dredges, and tankers.
Doyle Dennis LLP has decades of experience working in maritime law and use that experience to fight for their clients every day. Doyle Dennis LLP works on a contingent fee basis, essentially meaning that there is no fee unless we win on your behalf. For more information about your rights under the SPA, contact Doyle Dennis LLP today.