Offshore workers are frequently injured while working on boats, jackup rigs, barges, tugs, and other vessels in Texas, Louisiana, and all along the Gulf Coast. Accidents can take a devastating toll on the lives of injured workers, but luckily, workers are given different ways to seek compensation for their injuries. One way that injured offshore workers can get compensated for their losses is to file Jones Act claims against their employers.
Even with this remedy available, however, some injured maritime workers, particularly those who think they may not be hurt too badly, might be worried about getting fired for bringing a claim. Feeling this way isn’t without good reason. Employers may put pressure on injured offshore workers to either settle their claim for a small amount or to drop the claim altogether by threatening to fire them.
It’s important for injured workers to understand their rights so that they can best protect themselves.
Can A Seaman Be Fired for Filing a Jones Act Claim?
Yes. Your employer can choose to fire you for filing a claim under the Jones Act, but this doesn’t mean that you can be fired without any consequences.
What Can I Do if I’m Fired for Filing a Jones Act Claim?
Offshore injury law has developed to protect injured workers if they get fired for filing Jones Act claims. The laws give injured seamen the right to pursue a Jones Act claim, and a maritime employer should not be able to prevent them from exercising that right. If this weren’t the case, employers could take advantage of seamen and keep them from filing Jones Act claims by making unfair threats.
So, in addition to bringing a Jones Act claim, an unseaworthiness claim, and a claim for maintenance and cure, a seaman who is fired because of his Jones Act personal injury case can also bring a wrongful discharge claim under the general maritime law. The wrongfully discharged seaman may be able to recover compensatory damages, such as lost wages, suffered because of the firing.