The case of my client Chris Bala established that the FRSA protects ALL railroad workers (not just employees with an on-the-job injury) from attendance discipline when they follow the orders of a treating doctor not to work Why? Because safety trumps discipline. No one wants medically impaired railroad employees reporting to work against their doctor’s orders solely to avoid absenteeism discipline.
No one except the American Association of Railroads. The AAR filed an amicus brief objecting to the Bala ruling, arguing that discipline trumps safety. But the United States Solicitor of Labor has weighed in with an amicus brief of its own confirming that FRSA Section (c)(2) protects ALL medically impaired railroad employees who follow their doctor’s orders not to work, even workers who are injured off the job or have a non-work related medical condition.
The National Whistleblower Legal Defense Fund Center also filed an amicus brief in support of my client Chris Bala and all railroad workers who want to take the safe course and not attempt to perform their safety sensitive duties in a medically impaired condition. So here’s hats off to OSHA and the NWLDFC for helping protect the safety of everyone affected by the operations of our nation’s railroads. For the Whistleblower Protection Blog entry that has links to all the briefs in the Bala v. PATH appeal, click here.