One of the biggest fears that Jones Act workers have after being injured is that they will face retaliation from their employers or will be “blackballed” or “blacklisted” in the industry. This fear keeps a lot of seamen from even learning about their rights or filing a claim against their employers that will help them get the medical care and financial support they need. Are you in the same kind of situation?
In the short term, you know that you need help paying for your living expenses and medical bills while you can’t work. In the long term, you know that you want to get better and get back to work. Is it possible to file a claim for Jones Act benefits and go back to work someday? Will you be blackballed? Will anyone hire you?
Filing a Legal Claim Does Not Mean You Will Be Blackballed
Simply put, it is against the law for an offshore employer to blacklist or blackball you for protecting your legal rights or speaking with an attorney about a Jones Act lawsuit. Your current employer, or a potential future employer, cannot decide not to hire you because you have filed a claim pursuant to the Jones Act or another offshore law.
Generally, employers know this and abide by the law, reserving blackballing or blacklisting for times when an offshore worker:
- Files an unfounded claim
- Exaggerates his or her injuries
- Files claims over and over again
Our attorneys will not represent you if we believe that your claim is unfounded or if you are exaggerating your injuries. We will only represent you if you have a valid case. However, we also know that there are many, many truthful seamen out there who are afraid to file their legitimate injury claims against their employers. But they don’t need to be afraid—they just need to seek out the right help.
Maritime Industry “Blacklists” Are More Mythical Than Real
Given the state of our economy, jobs can be difficult to come by—which is why no sailor, seaman, or maritime worker wants to be blackballed from the industry for filing a claim against an employer under the Jones Act. The fact is, though, that “blacklists” in the maritime industry are more mythical than real, and are nothing more than an empty threat wielded by employers who don't want to be on the hook for a cash payout!
Is There Really a Maritime Industry Blacklist?
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of individuals are employed in a maritime capacity in the regions bordering the Gulf of Mexico, including sailors, cruise-ship employees, merchant marines, dockworkers, and oil-rig workers. In order to maintain a working “blacklist,” all of the companies in these industries would have to:
- Maintain a database of current and pending Jones Act litigation
- Share the names of workers who have successfully obtained Jones Act settlements, as well as those whose cases have been dismissed
- Share (with the competition) the detailed circumstances of the accidents or incidents that resulted in a Jones Act claim, which no employer wants to do
- Check this master list against the name of each and every job applicant
- Decline to hire a uniquely qualified applicant, with in-demand job skills, because he had once sued his employer
Is Your Employer Threatening to Blackball You? Don't Believe the Bluster
There's a good reason your manager or foreman darkly hints at a “blacklist” when you file a claim under the Jones Act. Companies and negligent supervisors want to dissuade you from going through with your lawsuit because, if you win, the company will be on the hook for a substantial cash payout. Don't be intimidated—contact an attorney from VB Attorneys at 877-724-7800 for a free and confidential case review.