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New law aimed at protecting whistle-blowing oil workers

One of Louisiana's major employers is the oil and gas industry. Though very lucrative, this work also comes with some potential hazards for the workers. Employers can minimize these dangers by taking certain precautions to protect their employees. Employees who choose to speak out against hazardous conditions may soon have more legal protection if a new law is passed.

Two lawmakers from the west coast have introduced a new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill seeks to extend the whistleblower protections to oil and gas workers on the Outer Continental Shelf. This will include drilling regions off of the coast of Louisiana. If the proposal is enacted, employers would be prohibited from firing or discriminating against workers who report employer violations. Employees that report unsafe work conditions and injuries or refuse to do work because of safety concerns will also be protected from employer retaliation.

The authors of the bill hope to prevent disasters like the one that happened in 2010 when there was the Deepwater Horizon explosion. If enacted, this legislation will join other laws that protect offshore workers. The Jones Act allows injured workers to make a claim for compensation if the injury is due to the negligence of the employer.

Injured seaman and offshore workers are entitled to certain compensation while they recover from work related injuries. Individuals who are having difficulty recovering that which they are entitled by law may want to seek further counsel. Each situation is unique and requires the individual care and attention of an attorney experienced in maritime law.

Source: The Times Picayune, "Bill seeks oil patch whistleblower protections, website reports," Jennifer Larino, June 26, 2015

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