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FRSA contributing factor requirement must be met

The Federal Rail Safety Act gives workers in Connecticut and across the country rights and remedies if they are retaliated against for protected whistleblowing actions. To succeed in a claim under the FRSA, the employee must demonstrate that a protected activity was a contributing factor to an adverse action by his or her employer. The term contributing factor means a factor that impacted or led to the adverse action in any way, on its own or in combination with other circumstances.

The employee isn't required to prove that engaging in the protected action was the most significant or the only reason for the employer's adverse action. Even in cases where the railroad had a legitimate reason for the adverse action, if the protected activity contributed in any way, then the contributing factor requirement is met. Railroad employees do not have to prove that their employer or supervisor had a conscious motive to retaliate.

Protected activities under the FRSA might include raising safety concerns, following the orders of a doctor or reporting an injury. To have a claim for retaliation under the FRSA, an employee needs only to show that a protected activity affected the decision by the employer to take adverse action. Adverse actions may include work discipline, firing or discrimination against the employee.

Workers in Connecticut who believe they have been discriminated against, retaliated against or otherwise treated unfairly in the workplace might have claims for recovery. An attorney who handles whistleblower cases may assist by examining the facts, interviewing witnesses and building a case for trial.

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