If you know that your employer is not following the law and has hazards in your workplace that haven’t been addressed, that’s something you can report. Similarly, if you feel your career is in danger because you refuse to work in those condition, it’s time to speak up and focus on blowing the whistle on your employer.
The Federal Railroad Safety Act, or FRSA, allows you to draw attention to any safety issue in the workplace without the fear of punishment. If your employer penalizes you, fires you or otherwise harasses you because of reporting a safety issue, then you may have the right to file a complaint against them. You’re also protected by the whistleblower protection provision of the FRSA, which may allow you to get your job back if you were unfairly terminated for reporting your employer.
Which types of activities are protected by the FRSA?
There are many different actions that you can take that are protected by the FRSA, such as:
- Reporting security concerns on the job
- Refusing to work due to security concerns or hazardous safety issues in the workplace
- Refusing to authorize the use of security or safety-related equipment in certain kinds of hazardous conditions
- Refusing to assist or violate federal laws, regulations or rules related to the railroad industry (safety and security)
- Trying to notify, or notifying, the railroad carrier of a work-related injury or illness
- Attempting to tell the U.S. Department of Transportation about a work-related injury or illness
There are other activities that may be protected as well.
What can’t the employer do if you report safety or security concerns?
If you “blow the whistle” on your employer and are protected by law, then your employer is not legally able to take any actions that would negatively impact your employment. This includes:
- Pay cuts
- Refusal to hire
If you’re concerned that your employer has violated the law and is penalizing you for reporting their mistakes or inaction in the workplace, then it’s time to look into your legal options and to consider what you’d like to do next.