Whistle Blowers and the Federal Railroad Safety Act
The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) makes it illegal for railroads to retaliate against workers for reporting safety violations, security violations, or injuries. The FRSA was amended in 2007 and 2008 to add new rights and protections for whistleblowing employees.
Under the FRSA, it is illegal for a railroad to retaliate against employees for reporting hazardous safety or security conditions. Employees are also protected when they report work-related injuries or illnesses. Under the FRSA, railroad employers may not retaliate, or threaten to retaliate, against an employee who is injured on the job for requesting medical treatment or for following the treatment plan of his or her doctor.
The FRSA makes it illegal for railroads to blacklist, demote, deny overtime, deny promotion, deny benefits, discipline, fail to hire or rehire, intimidate, reassign, or reduce the pay or hours of a whistleblowing employee. The law intends for injured railroad employees to be able to provide information about a work-related injury without fear of economic intimidation.
For more information, injured employees may contact OSHA or the lawyers at Doran & Murphy to discuss their options. Complaints may be filed with OSHA and lawsuits may be filed under certain circumstances. There are very important time constraints, so it is important to consult someone as soon as possible after an incident.
Under the FRSA, whistleblowers may be entitled to reinstatement with the same seniority and benefits, backpay with interest, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, and punitive damages of up to $250,000.