The Jones Act may affect how you resolve an employment issue if you work onboard a vessel. The Act provides a range of protections, but it may also disqualify you from certain provisions of federal labor laws such as overtime pay. As reported by Reuters, a 2021 U.S. Appeals Court hearing confirmed that the Fair Labor Standards Act may not apply to individuals working as seamen.
What factors could affect how my shipboard work becomes classified?
Working as a crane operator or welder onboard a vessel may not provide you with seaman status. If you do not come under the jurisdiction of the Jones Act as a seaman, however, your employment onboard a vessel could place you under the protections of the FLSA. Based on the legal guidelines of the Fair Labor Standards Act, your employer may not, for example, exempt you from overtime pay.
As noted by Workboat.com, other criteria may affect your classification, such as whether you owe your primary allegiance to a land-based employer or to the vessel. The amount of time you spend at sea reflects another factor that could determine whether the FLSA or the Jones Act applies to your employment.
What might occur if my employer misclassifies me while I work on a ship?
As noted in the U.S. Appeals Court case reported by Reuters, a misclassification could cause you to become ineligible for overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. A misclassification could also affect how an injury claim proceeds. Although both the Jones Act and the FLSA provide worker protections, one or more of the legal tests used to determine your correct status may affect the outcome of an employment dispute.