In addition to naming the railroad as a defendant in a Federal Rail Safety Act complaint, employees have the power to name managers or supervisors as individual defendants as well. And there are good reasons for doing so.

When OSHA, a judge, or a federal jury finds that a manager illegally retaliated against a worker in violation of the FRSA, it automatically creates an official record that can be used as a basis for the Federal Rail Administration to disqualify that manager from working in the railroad industry. For an explanation of how to permanently end the careers of such managers, click here.

And each violation of the FRSA exposes such managers to individual liability of up to $250,000 in punitive damages, plus unlimited economic and emotional distress damages and attorney fees and costs. So being named as an individual FRSA defendant means managers can be held personally liable for jury awards totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, it is important to list the names of any individual managers in the caption of the FRSA complaint filed with OSHA. That will ensure those managers also can be listed as individual defendants in any subsequent federal court jury trial.

So, from now on, managers who discipline injured workers have to ask themselves: “Is this retaliation really worth placing all my personal assets at risk?” For more on the FRSA, go to the free Rail Whistleblower Library.