The Seaman’s Protection Act is a whistleblower statute that prohibits an employer from retaliating against a seaman who engages in protected activity. A seaman cannot waive his or her rights under the Act by release or contract.
Protected activities under the Seaman's Protection Act may include:
A person or company may be found to have violated the Seaman’s Protection Act if he or she took an adverse action against a seaman who engaged in one of the above protected activities. Adverse actions may include:
But this list is not exhaustive.
A seaman who believes he or she has a claim under the Seaman’s Protection Act can file a complaint under the procedures in 29 C.F.R. Part 1986. The seaman can also have an attorney file the complaint on the seaman’s behalf. There is no specific form for the seaman’s complaint. In fact, it can be in any language and can even be a verbal recitation of the violation.
It is important to note that the statute of limitations for making a claim under the Seaman’s Protection Act is 180 days. The 180-day clock starts to run from the date that the alleged adverse action was communicated to the mariner. With such a short period of time to bring a claim, it is crucial for a seaman to contact an experienced maritime lawyer as soon as possible if the mariner may have a claim.
If you suffered an adverse action after engaging in a protected activity while working aboard a vessel, Mariner Law, PLLC is here to help. Please call (253) 600-2531 now. Maritime Attorney Adam Deitz has the knowledge and experience to help you navigate a claim under the Seaman's Protection Act. The firm serves mariner clients in Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and nationwide.