After a supervisor for the Utah Transit Authority was fired for raising safety concerns, OSHA’s Whistleblower Office ordered him reinstated with over $150,000 in make whole economic damages. In refusing to dismiss that case, an ALJ has ruled that the FRSA protects any employee who raises safety concerns, even supervisors on an intrastate commuter railroad not yet open to the public:
Congress recognized that in order to improve safety and security on the railroads, railroad employees play a key role and are to be encouraged to raise safety or security issues with supervisors and/or government officials, so the issues can be addressed, without fear of reprisal for doing so. . . .
The potential safety or security issues railroad employees are exposed to are the same, whether the commuter railroad operates wholly intrastate or crosses state borders. . . . Congress did not intend to protect some commuter railroad employees who raise safety or security concerns but not others.