The Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA) was created to protect rail workers from retaliation. While trains are one of the safest forms of travel, accidents happen, and people get injured, be they, workers or customers.
Those who work on the rail system are in a prime position to spot potential problems before they turn into accidents. Yet if they feel too scared to report issues, accidents may occur that could have been avoided if people felt free to highlight dangers.
The FRSA guarantees workers can do certain things without fear of retaliation. It covers not only direct railroad employees but contractors and subcontractors too. These are the activities covered:
- Reporting safety issues.
- Reporting fraud.
- Reporting injuries.
- Refusing to do or authorize something unsafe.
- Refusing to break the law.
- Filing a complaint.
- Complying with an investigation.
- Receiving medical treatment.
- Following the doctor’s orders.
However, some employers still get upset when an employee takes one of the above actions. Retaliation can take various forms, some more obvious than others. The FRSA has set out actions it considers to be retaliatory:
- Terminating your employment or refusing to hire you again.
- Demoting you, refusing to promote you.
- Moving you to a position that affects your earning potential.
- Docking your wages, reducing your rate of pay or hours, or refusing to give you overtime.
- Taking disciplinary action against you.
- Threatening you or intimidating you.
- Refusing medical treatment, holding it up or interfering with it.
If you feel you have been the victim of retaliation by the rail company you work for, seek legal help to file an FRSA claim. You only have 180 days to do it, so mistakes could prove costly.