It’s one of the hoariest acts in the railroad repertoire of retaliation: first, invent rules setting an arbitrary deadline for the reporting of injuries, and then use the threat of discipline under those rules to discourage the reporting of injuries. Classic examples of absurd reporting rules are Metro North Railroad’s “all injuries must be reported immediately” and CSX Transportation’s “all injuries must be reported prior to the end of the shift.” Such arbitrary rules outlaw entire categories of FRA reportable injuries.

No more. Under the Federal Rail Safety Act, the reporting of injuries cannot be used as the basis for discipline. And because any discipline for “late reporting” is necessarily based on the reporting of an injury, it is a prima facie violation of the FRSA. And railroads who continue to discipline for “late reporting” are getting slammed with record high punitive damages. See, for example, Harvey v. Union Pacific Railroad.

So, thanks to the FRSA, there is no longer any such thing as the “late reporting” of an injury. The railroad repertoire of retaliation just keeps getting smaller and smaller.