Legal Question in Employment Law in Florida

I'm a Boat Captain and have been working for this company now for 4 years as a contractor. The owner now wants us Captains to sign a contract saying we will work for him for 6 months and not leave until our contract date expires. My questions is, is this legal and he thinks he can force us to work for him for 6 months by signing this contract. I don't feel like we should have to sign a contract saying we will alone work for him and be available for him the entire 6 months and cannot leave without legal issues coming our way if we do.

Thank You

Captain

Asked on 9/04/13, 9:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Byron Petersen Byron G. Petersen P.A.
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Assuming the ship is licensed in the United States and berthed in Florida (and that you received your license in Florida) the simple answer to your maritime question is: "It's legal".

The qualifications, previously noted, might suggest that other laws beyond Florida law may lead to a different result.

You may wish to contact the Federal Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor. You should then ask these same questions of the Regional Office.

Is this really worth it for you? It's not just fees and costs but inconvenience and interference with your own schedule of work) (perhaps with loss of income). You have to balance risk vs. reward.

If you were going to stick around for 6 more months, anyway, you could sign the contract BUT NOT UNTILL the "new" contract has been vetted by a Florida attorney of your choosing. Further, please consider that Captains form a small community, even in Florida. Do you want prospective employers to know that you were in litigation with a previous employer? Everyone likes to gossip.

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9/04/13, 10:40 am

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