Railroad Harassment, Retaliation and Discrimination

There are several laws that protect Railroad employees from harassment, retaliation and discrimination. One of those laws is the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA) passed by Congress to protect railroad workers and employees of railroad contractors and subcontractors from being discriminated or retaliated against for filing an injury, seeking medical treatment, amongst other things. It provides in part that "A railroad carrier... may not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way discriminate against an employee" who, for example:

  • provides information about a violation of any Federal law relating to railroad safety or security;
  • refuses to violate any Federal law, rule, or regulation related to railroad safety or security;
  • notifies the railroad about a work-related personal injury or occupational illness;
  • requests medical or first aid treatment;
  • follows his or doctor’s orders or treatment plan;
  • reports, in good faith, a hazardous safety or security condition; or
  • under certain circumstances, refuses to work when confronted by a hazardous safety or security condition.

The FRSA also prohibits railroads from denying, delaying or interfering with "the medical or first aid treatment of an employee who is injured" on the job. If you request transportation to a hospital, "the railroad must promptly arrange to have the injured employee transported to the nearest hospital where the employee can receive safe and appropriate medical care."

Recovery Under the FRSA

The FRSA protects you if you have been given any discipline at all even if you have not lost any wages as a result of the discipline. FRSA claims are filed with your regional OSHA office and investigated by the Department of Labor. OSHA has the power to:

  1. expunge your discipline,
  2. reinstate you with your seniority and benefits maintained,
  3. order back pay with interest,
  4. award compensatory damages for mental and emotional distress, medical bills and other economic losses incurred as a result,
  5. award punitive damages up to $250,000, and
  6. award attorney fees and costs associated with your case.

OSHA Complaint Statute of Limitations

You only have 180 days from the adverse action to file a complaint with OSHA. If you want to proceed with a case, you must act quickly.

What if I Messed Up and Did Break a Rule?

The railroad has lots of rules and often chooses to enforce those rules when it is convenient for the railroad. If you were terminated because you, in fact, broke a rule, you still may have a viable case under the FRSA if one of the protected activities listed above was also a contributing factor in your discipline.

Help From an Experienced Attorney for Railroad Workers

Whether you have been fired or retaliated against for bringing a FELA claim, due to an off-duty injury, or because of your race, gender, age, or disability, contact St. Louis employment attorney Ryan Furniss immediately to discuss your claim. Ryan has successfully helped railroad employees and railroad contractor employees around the country whose employment rights were violated or who were injured on the job. Consultations are free of charge.