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Whistleblower protection for railroad workers

There are a number of specific government regulations that work to protect whistleblowing workers in New York and Connecticut from retaliation, especially in industries like airlines, subways, trucking, financial or environmental management. For example, for people who work in the subway, the National Transit Systems Security Act provides protection for whistleblowers. The same is true for merchant marine seamen, who receive protection under the Seaman's Protection Act or railway workers, protected by the Federal Rail Safety Act . Because of the importance of these systems for the safety of the public, it is especially important that whistleblowers who highlight dangers are shielded from retaliation.

Under the FRSA, there are a number of remedies that workers can access in cases of retaliation; however, it can be easy to miss the limited time window for filing the necessary claim. Working together with an attorney can help to ensure that the criteria specified in the act are met.

The FRSA details specific types of protected activities, including notifying the railroad of work injuries or illnesses, reporting safety issues and hazards, refusing to violate federal safety rules, refusing to authorize the use of unsafe equipment or providing information about fraud or waste of government funds.

The remedies provided under the law include expunging any disciplinary actions, reinstatement, receiving back pay and compensation for economic losses and emotional distress and receiving punitive damages. However, workers have only a short 180-day window to file a claim after the time they should have known about the railroad's adverse action. Our page on the FRSA provides more information about rights of railroad whistleblowers and how you can take action to protect yourself and the public.

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