Railroad Worker Harassment - Whistleblower

"Firing workers for reporting an injury is not only illegal, it also endangers all workers. When workers are discouraged from reporting injuries, no investigation into the cause of an injury can occur. To prevent more injuries, railroad workers must be able to report an injury without fear of retaliation. The Labor Department will continue to protect all employees, including those in the railroad industry, from retaliation for exercising these basic worker rights. Employers found in violation will be held accountable." Dr. David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health


What are whistleblower protections under the FRSA?
The Federal Rail Safety Act (“FRSA”) applies to railroads engaged in interstate commerce (most railroads in the U.S.) and provides a means for the U.S. Department of Labor to enforce the law and hold a railroad accountable for violations. There are some key requirements that must be met before an employee can be awarded damages, under the FRSA. Here are the key requirements that an employee must show to prevail in a FRSA whistleblower action:

Key Requirements:
Protected activity under the FRSA:
All of the below activities must be made in “good faith.”

Adverse action under the FRSA:
Remedies for adversely impacted employee:
Brian Reddy was the first lawyer to represent a railroad worker in an FRSA appeal that the railroad, in this case Consolidated Rail Corporation, brought to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

That case involved an employee who was fired after the railroad decided he had verbally threatened a supervisor at work. After a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), the U.S. Department of Labor, decided that the railroad was not credible,that there really never was a threat, and that the real reason the worker was fired was because he had previously provided written reports of unsafe conditions at work to his employer. This reporting of unsafe conditions is another protected activity as is reporting an on duty injury. The railroad appealed to a Department of Labor Administrative Review Board, who affirmed the ALJ's decision. On the final appeal, after hearing argument presented by the railroad's lawyers and Brian Reddy, the U.S. Court of Appeals decided that the ALJ's decision in favor of the worker should stand.

If you are a railroad union official, Brian Reddy is available to attend any union meetings if you think this would be helpful for your members. Just give Brian Reddy a call and he will work with you to schedule a presentation on the FELA or the FRSA whistle blower protections.

Call The Reddy Law Firm at (419) 482-1467 today.