If you were injured at sea, then you have every right to seek compensation under the Jones Act. However, employers typically aren’t thrilled about being accused of providing an unsafe work environment. After all, it can have more wide-ranging consequences for them. As a result, far too often workers who file these claims are subjected to illegal retaliation. This could mean being demoted, being given a less favorable work assignment, or even being terminated from their position.
Building your claim
If you suspect that you have or you will be subjected to retaliation for filing a claim under the Jones Act, then you need to be prepared to take legal action. While you’ll certainly want to talk to your union representative to see what kind of corrective action can be taken there, it may be inevitable that you’ll need to take your dispute to court.
Before you do so, though, there are some very real steps that you can take to better position yourself for a successful claim. Here are just a few of them:
- Take notes: Facts are key in the legal arena, but as time passes, the details surrounding important events tend to get fuzzy. This can jeopardize your case. To prevent that from happening, take notes about your initial injury, including how and when it occurred, as well as how your employer responded to the incident and your desire to pursue a Jones Act claim.
- Keep records: While you’ll certainly want to keep records pertaining to your injury, including your medical records and bills, you’ll also want to retain communications between you and your employer. Emails and voicemails can help demonstrate retaliatory intentions on behalf of your employer, which can set you up for a successful legal claim.
- Talk to witnesses: There are probably some people who witnessed the illegal retaliation, or illegal threat of retaliation, in question. Identify these individuals, talk to them, and secure their contact information so that you can reach out to them later if they’re needed.
Don’t be a afraid to stand up for your rights
We understand the challenges that you’re facing as you try to recover from your injuries. Losing your job is the last thing you want to deal with. But it can be scary to stand up to an employer or a former employer. That’s why we’re here to help. We can assist workers in this situation build their legal claim and develop the arguments that they need to protect their rights. Hopefully then they can secure the best possible outcome, find some accountability, and move on with their lives.