Judge's Benchbook:

Longshore & Harbor Workers' Compensation Act
Supplement - January 2005
Topic 15 - Invalid Agreements

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Invalid Agreements


  • Agreement to Waive Compensation Invalid




Topic  15.2     Invalid Agreements--Agreement to Waive Compensation Invalid


In Re Kellog Brown & Root , Tex. Ct. App., No. 01-01-01177-CV (April 25, 2002).


[ED. NOTE: While not a LHWCA case, this matter is nevertheless of interest due to its wrongful discharge issue. ]


            The Texas Court of Appeals held that a pipefitter helper must arbitrate his claim that he was wrongfully discharge by Kellogg, Brown & Root for filing a workers' compensation claim. Here the worker had signed two documents acknowledging "in consideration of my employment" that he was an at-will employee and that he was bound by the terms of the "Haliburton Dispute Resolution Program." That program required binding arbitration of all employment claims, including workers compensation retaliation claims. The Federal Arbitration Act applied to arbitrations held under the program. When the worker brought suit for wrongful discharge, the trial court denied employer's motion to compel arbitration, finding that there was no consideration and thus, no contract to arbitrate. However, the appellant court found that both sides to the agreement were bound to perform certain requirements, and thus the agreement to arbitrate was binding and enforceable.