The "Seaman Exemption" under the FLSA; Find out why dock and shipyard workers such as Tankers may be robbed of thousands of dollars in overtime under the seaman exemption.

If you work in a shipyard, city port, oil rig, or a similar environment you should know that many workers in these fields are commonly misclassified under the "seaman exemption" of the FLSA and are denied overtime. With the demanding schedules required in this line of work this can lead to workers being robbed of thousands of dollars in lost wages and FLSA benefits every year. However, most workers have no idea that they are being cheated on their paychecks.

The seaman exemption under the FLSA

The FLSA exemption titled the "seaman exemption" has certain regulations that govern who can be classified under this exemption. Many times, workers employed at docks, ports and shipyards as stevedores, longshoremen, or similar positions are primarily involved in loading and unloading vessels, which means the seaman exemption does not apply to them even if they travel on the vessel.

There are two primary tests to determine the seaman exemption and an employee will be regarded as "employed as a seaman" only if the following criteria are met:

  • The worker performs a service which is primarily aiding in the operation of the vessel as a means of transportation,
  • the employee must not perform a substantial amount of work of a different character,
  • the seaman exemption depends on the character of the work performed, not the job title or the place where they work.

Most workers employed in industrial work involving dredging, in forestry or lumbering operations, or in construction work like dock, levee or structure building, often do not qualify for this exemption either.

Dock and shipyard workers, oil rig workers, and other employees in this industry work long hours under extreme conditions. If you work for the following companies you should learn your proper FLSA industry classification so that you are being paid according to the FLSA. We are currently investigating overtime claims against the following transportation companies:

  • Harley-Marine - marine transportation services (overtime pay violations in Texas and other states)
  • Kirby Corporation - inland marine transportation (overtime pay violations in Texas and Louisiana)
  • Martin Resource Management Corporation - transport, marketing and logistics management services (overtime pay violations in Texas and other states)
  • American Commercial Lines Inc. - transportation and manufacturing markets. (overtime pay violations in Texas and other states)

If you believe you have been denied your rightful wages under the FLSA, contact our employment attorneys for a free claim evaluation. Our firm is in Houston, Texas, but we maintain a national practice.

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