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Supreme Court to hear FELA case

Workers in Connecticut may be interested in learning that the United States Supreme Court has added to its docket for next term a case that partly pertains to the Federal Employees Liability Act, or FELA. The issue that has to be decided in the case is whether the payments made by a railway company, which was mandated by the court to pay an employee for time taken away from work, are to be assessed employment taxes according to the Railroad Retirement Tax Act, or RRTA.

The employee had worked for the company as a switchman, brakeman and conductor for 15 years. The man sustained a workplace injury in 2010 and was terminated for attendance violations that stemmed from that injury. In addition, the employee also was assessed an attendance violation for absences that occurred while he was testifying against the company in a case filed by two co-workers who alleged that their terminations were retaliatory.

The employee claims that under FELA, the company should be held liable for the workplace injuries he sustained. He also alleges that the railway violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act when it terminated him in retaliation for testifying. A summary judgment was issued in district court in favor of the employer regarding the FRSA, but the employee was awarded financial compensation in trial court for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and emotional distress.

The company petitioned to offset the amount awarded for lost wages by the amount of taxes the employee owed under the RRTA. This was denied by the district court, and the ruling was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals.

An employment law attorney may assist clients with pursuing financial compensation against federal employers for workplace violations under FELA. A lawyer may help someone file a FELA claim to obtain compensation for medical expenses and lost wages.

Source: Jurist, 'Supreme Court adds maritime and employment cases to next term's docket," Autumn Callan, May 14, 2018

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