Here’s the latest judicial decision rejecting the bogus "election of remedies" defense railroads continue to raise in Federal Rail Safety Act cases. This one is especially sweet in that it allows a worker to continue her frontal attack against Norfolk Southern Railway’s notorious practice of firing employees who report on duty injuries.
The facts are familiar to anyone who deals with Norfolk Southern. Latonya Milton reported an injury five days after the incident that caused the injury, and as usual NS fired her for filing an "untimely" injury report and for making "false and conflicting statements" regarding the reporting of her injury. She appealed the termination through her collective bargaining agreement, and also filed a FRSA complaint with OSHA’s Whistleblower Office. NS argued that her CBA appeal was an "election of remedies" that precluded her from pursuing a FRSA claim.
Judge Malamphy rejected that argument, ruling Milton "is not precluded from appealing her termination pursuant to her collective bargaining agreement while simultaneously litigating this claim under the FRSA." NS asked for an immediate reconsideration, but to no avail. The Judge again concluded: "I find that the FRSA does not prevent an individual who has filed a grievance pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement from pursuing a complaint under the FRSA." How many times do judges have to rule before the railroads accept reality? For the complete text of both decisions, click here.