Federal Whistleblower Protection Laws – Connecticut Attorney

Protecting Employees From Whistleblower Retaliation

The employees of many industries are protected from retaliation for whistleblowing activities (for example, subways, airlines, trucking, environmental, financial). Subway workers are protected by the National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA), and merchant marine seamen are protected by the Seaman's Protection Act (SPA). Both are similar to the Federal Rail Safety Act, which prohibits all railroads from retaliating against workers who engage in certain "protected activities."

The FRSA is an extremely powerful law that provides extensive "make whole" remedies for railroad workers who suffer retaliation for engaging in "protected activities." But the window for filing a FRSA claim is very short, and it is critical to consult a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible in order to protect your rights.

Protected Activity Under the FRSA

Some examples of "protected activity" under the FRSA include: 

Injuries
- Notifying the railroad of your own work-related injury or illness
- Notifying the railroad of a coworker's work related injury or illness

Safety Concerns
- Reporting a hazardous safety or security condition
- Refusing to violate any federal law, rule, or regulation relating to rail safety or security
- Refusing to authorize the use of unsafe railroad equipment, track, or structures

Medical Treatment
- For any work-related injury, railroad managers and medical department personnel cannot deny, delay, or interfere with the entire course of the employee's medical treatment
- For any work-related medical condition, a railroad cannot discipline an employee for following a treating doctor's orders or treatment plan

Fraud or Waste of Public Funds
- Providing information regarding the fraud, waste, or abuse of governmental funds connected to rail safety or security

Make Whole Remedies

The FRSA is a "make whole remedy" law that gives workers the power to force the railroad:

  • To avoid and expunge your discipline
  • To reinstate you with all seniority and benefits unimpaired
  • To pay you back wages with interest
  • To pay for all your economic losses
  • To pay unlimited emotional distress damages
  • To pay punitive damages up to $250,000
  • To pay your attorney's fees and costs

Beware of the Short 180 Day Window to File

The window for filing a FRSA complaint with OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Directorate is only 180 days. That means railroad workers only have 180 days to file from the date the worker knew or should have known the railroad decided to take an adverse action against them. So if you believe a railroad has retaliated against you for reporting an injury (or any of the other "protected activities" listed above), call me as soon as possible so we can determine if you have a FRSA claim and if so how best to protect your rights.

The FRSA applies to railroads such as: Amtrak, Metro North Railroad, New Jersey Transit Railroad (NJT Rail), PATH Rail, Long Island Railroad (LIRR), CSXT Railroad, Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), Burlington Northern Railroad (BNSF), and Union Pacific Railroad.

Contact A New York FRSA Lawyer

From offices in New Haven, New York, and Washington, D.C., Attorney Charles Goetsch provides legal representation for whistleblowers and railroad workers in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and throughout the Northeastern U.S. and across the nation. If you have suffered a railroad injury or any retaliation in violation of your whistleblower protection rights, or if you have information regarding fraud or waste involving any governmental monies, get the legal guidance you need. Wherever you are in the Northeast or across the United States, call toll free 866-316-6825 or contact the office to arrange a free and strictly confidential consultation.