A lawyer who represents cruise-ship workers reveals why it’s nearly impossible for them to sue their employers when they feel like they’ve been mistreated
It’s very difficult for cruise-ship workers to sue their employers if they feel they’ve been mistreated.
When cruise-ship workers sign their employment contracts, they agree that if they have a conflict with the cruise line, they will settle it through arbitration rather than in court.
Settling a grievance through arbitration, rather than the US legal system, is likely to produce a worse outcome for the employee because the cruise line picks and pays for the arbitrator, the maritime lawyer Jim Walker said.
A representative for the Cruise Lines International Association — a trade association whose members include Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line — did not comment specifically on the use of arbitration agreements by member cruise lines.
But the CLIA representative said its members comply with the Maritime Labour Convention, a set of guidelines for the treatment of seafarers created by an agency of the United Nations that covers working hours, health and safety, and living conditions.
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A lawsuit or a report to a regulator are two last-resort options available to many workers who feel like their employers have mistreated them. But doing either can be difficult or ineffective for a cruise-ship worker because cruise lines often require workers to handle disputes through arbitration and incorporate their businesses in countries that have more lenient labor laws than the US, Jim Walker, a maritime lawyer for Walker and O’Neill, told Business Insider.
This means cruise lines are able to treat their workers in ways that might make land-based businesses in the US fearful of legal action or regulatory scrutiny.
“The cruise industry does not have to comply with US labor laws,” he said.
Cruise lines use arbitration agreements to prevent lawsuits
When cruise-ship workers sign their employment contracts, they agree that they are …read more
Source:: Business Insider