You work on the railroad. You recently saw a safety hazard and tried to report it to one of your supervisors, but they were not receptive and told you to ignore it. Figuring it was important for public safety, you went over their head and lodged a report.
Several weeks later, the supervisor calls you to the office and fires you with no warning. Can they do that?
No, they cannot. Here is why.
The FRSA protects you from employer retaliation
Your employer can fire you if they have a valid reason. Yet, they cannot fire you for reporting a safety concern.
By reporting the hazard, you took part in an activity protected under the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA). Other protected activities include:
- Notifying the railroad about an illness or injury you or a colleague sustained at work
- Following a doctor’s orders concerning an injury or illness suffered at work
- Refusing to violate any federal law or regulation that pertains to safety or security on the railroad
- Refusing to allow the use of any dangerous railroad structures, tracks or equipment
- Refusing to do something your job requires that you consider an issue makes dangerous
Railroad accidents can be devastating. By telling you to ignore the issue you spotted, your supervisor is endangering the public, you and your colleagues. If you are concerned about reporting a safety issue. Or, if you believe your employer retaliated against you for highlighting a problem, it is crucial to find out more about your legal rights under the whistleblower law.