Offshore whistleblower protection?

Leave it to a former truck driver to appreciate the importance of whistleblower protection. That is, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Calif., (a Californian, but raised in Massachusetts) just introduced a bill (H.R. 2824) aimed at extending whistleblower protections to certain employees working on the Outer Continental Shelf. Apparently, there’s no such federal protection in place.

Why do I like it? Because there’s no bigger pile of ship than the idea of big corporations policing themselves. “Oh, we’d never push the envelope ’cause a spill doesn’t help anyone” is what they’ll tell you, but I suspect end of quarter revenue requirements likely change that way of thinking. Plus, there’s a lot of real estate between the boardroom’s plush carpet and the diamond steel deck beneath your manager’s boots. Point is, it’d be nice to know that the law has your back when you lay your wrench down.

The Congressman’s press release explains that the bill would prohibit employers from discharging or discriminating against an employee who reports to the employer or a federal or state official a belief the employer is violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Plus, and this is real world bill writing, it proposes to protect covered employees who report injuries or unsafe conditions, who refuse to work based on a good faith belief of a possible injury or spill or refuse to perform work in a manner they believe violates the Act. 

With wind farm work gaining speed on the East Coast, I’m curious whether whistleblower protections exist and/or whether this bill might cover those endeavors? Whatever the case, let’s all raise our glasses to this bill’s passage being greeted with fair winds and following seas. 

Underway and making way.

About the author

John K. Fulweiler

John K. Fulweiler is a licensed mariner and experienced admiralty attorney. He represents individuals and companies throughout the East and Gulf Coasts and has recently taken command of his own maritime law firm. He enjoys navigating the choppy waters of the maritime law, but readily admits to missing life on the water. He can be reached at john@fulweilerlaw.com . His website is www.saltwaterlaw.com.

Leave A Reply

© Diversified Communications. All rights reserved.