HEAD HUNTERS ARE STARTING TO FEEL THE HEAT, LETS MAKE IT HOTTER
screen, and forward for interview maritime crewmen. This is an activity not unknown in many economic sectors. Under the most professional and ethical circumstances corporate human resources departments hire these head hunters in times of expansion to help find and initially screen a large number of qualified applicants. But when it comes to the seafaring trades the concept has a dark history of Shanghaied commercial crews and naval press gangs roaming the streets forcing professional seamen and layman alike into involuntary servitude under the harshest of conditions. Many "head hunter" practices accepted as normal in most industries are in fact banned by seamen protective federal statutes, but unfortunately not enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard. Legitimate and illegitimate practices are so blended that distinguishing unlawful hiring practices from the lawful is an enforcement and compliance task that the Coast Guard would really rather avoid and mostly does.
One unlawful practice that is accepted in other labor markets but in fact is illegal in the maritime sector is that of charging the applicant a percentage of their early pay checks for the service of setting up their job interview if hired. Top companies that use headhunters pay for the service and applicants are not charged. Lower tier companies force the applicant to pay the head hunter. Now one would think that in an industry like America's work boat trades where there is a chronic skilled labor shortage that boat companies would take the high road. But if you read our serial BLOOD ON BROWN WATER you know that when it comes to occupational safety and health America's work boat companies often take short cuts, even to not complying with the meager existing regulations. The same is true for hiring practices despite statutory prohibitions American tow boat and offshore supply boat companies widely use headhunters who charge the seaman a percentage of his pay for "finding him a job". Sometimes when the job terminates before the entire fee is paid the seaman ends up owing everything he earned to the headhunter and then some. It doesn't require any fault on the part of a seaman to lose a job. The boat may lose its contract, break down, catch fire, sink, any of these things and more often cause seamen to be laid off within weeks, days, even hours of being hired on. This is the type of maritime slavery that the Congress had in mind when it outlawed most of these practices.
But the practice persists because of lax enforcement and it saves work boat HR departments tons of money. They laugh at the hapless American Seaman all the way to the bank.
As marine educators we have often warned our students to stay clear of head hunters. But in recent years the practice has become so prevalent that even the forewarned feel submitting to this abuse is inescapable. Not anymore!
Attorney Dennis O'Bryan has found the key to turning the tables. He cites the 1872 Seaman's Act as voiding any assignment of a seaman's wage prior to payment. "Oh, but I signed a contract", you say. Well the ancient act says that you as a seaman are a ward of the court and techno-legally incapable of contracting your self in such a way. This is how determined the original law makers were to prevent the resurrection of Shanghai and Impressment gangs. That contract you signed, Mr. O'Bryan argues is void. But before Mr. O'Bryan entered the scene the lack of enforcement of the Seaman's Protective statutes encouraged the large scale abusive head hunter ploys. The relatively small sums involved and the need for contingency lawyers to make a living made pursuit of your legal rights economically difficult, indeed unlikely. But Mr.O'Bryan has found enough such seamen to form a class, allowing for a large enough potential recovery to finance litigation as a class action or series of class actions. Class actions have been filed already in Mobile, New Orleans, and Houston.
We checked out Dennis O'Bryan with the Vice President of litigation and government affairs of the National Mariners Association and he received a highest possible recommendation as a seaman's advocate. We were also advised that it would be a good idea for as many seamen as possible who have suffered this particular type of rip off to contact Dennis O'Bryan specifically. Even some of the best maritime personal injury lawyers, highly regarded as seamen's advocates have no experience with this issue. Mr O'Bryan already has classes formed that many of you are able to join and nothing prohibits him from forming new classes in new jurisdictions where needed.
We aren't professional athletes or movie stars we don't get paid to endorse services. We are professional mariners turned marine educators. We are concerned with the health, welfare, safety, economic well being, and career satisfaction of the young people that we have launched into America's commercial fleets. Mr. O'Bryan did not pay for this endorsement. The lawyers who you do see advertising between our posts purchase ads from Google. We are sure they are competent in their advertised field. But this is the second time that we have recommended to readers a specific lawyer or law firm in the text of our postings. If you click in our Admiralty Law section you may read our admonition to our readers some of whom are our students or former student seamen to never act as their own lawyer and then we suggest the Young Law Firm of New Orleans for personal injury cases. We did that because we know that firm and trust their ethical treatment of seamen and skilled advocacy at law. Now for a second time and a different reason we point out again a specific lawyer Mr. Dennis O'Bryan as the best lawyer to contact for the specific purpose of recovering some of the hard earned money that was unfairly taken from you by illegal head hunting practices. even if it is water long passed under the bridge and you think it more trouble than it is worth do it for your fellow seamen and the next generation of seamen. Contact Mr. O'Bryan and lets blow the head hunters out of the water. We also note that Mr. O'Bryan also handles crewmen personal injuries and that he is particularly noted in the river towboat trade , especially above Memphis.
Dennis O'Bryan 1-800-627-9267
or email to : email@example.com with your name, address, and phone number , headhunter company name, employer they sent you to and when, and the amount the headhunter took out of your paycheck.