The purpose of the Federal Rail Safety Act is “to promote safety in every area of railroad operations” 49 U.S.C. § 20109. Railroads have historically retaliated against or fired injured railroad workers and railroad workers who report injuries. Because of this, Congress amended the FRSA in 2007 to include anti-retaliation provisions. Under the amended FRSA, a railroad carrier “may not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way discriminate against an employee if such discrimination is due in whole or in part” to enumerated protected activities. Our railroad attorneys can bring claims under the FRSA if certain circumstances are present.
For example, under subsection (c)(2) “a railroad carrier may not discipline, or threaten to discipline an employee for . . . following orders or a treatment plan of a treating physician.” This language is clear and protects railroad workers from being disciplined for following their doctor’s treatment plan for a work-related injury.
Examples of Protections Under tThe FRSA Railroad Whistleblower Statute
These provisions provide protections for railroad workers for reporting injuries and unsafe conditions and acting as witnesses. These protections were enacted by Congress in 2007 because of the railroad industry’s systemic harassment and abuse of railroad workers who were hurt at work and for those trying to make their workplace safer.
Additional protections were also added to prevent railroads from delaying and interfering with injured workers’ emergency medical treatment and subsequent treatment plans for on-duty injuries.
These protections include:
If it can be proved that the railroad disciplined a worker for one of these protected activities, there are remedies depending on the discipline and the situation.
These remedies include:
As soon as a railroad worker believes they have been disciplined for one of these protected activities, they should contact a railroad attorney as all claims must be filed with OSHA within six months of the incident. The knowledgeable, experienced railroad team of Bolt Hoffer Boyd understands the protections of the FRSA and will fight to protect your rights, your career, and your livelihood.
Contact us to schedule an initial consultation with our FRSA and Whistleblower attorneys today.