Federal Rail Safety Act Subsection c(2) prohibits railroads from disciplining employees “for following the orders or treatment plan of a treating physician.”  For the past six years, the U.S. Department of Labor has interpreted the scope of c(2) protection to include off duty injuries and medical conditions as well as on duty injuries: see the Administrative Review Board’s Bala v. PATH Decision.

However, in a case of first impression at the U.S. Court of Appeals level, the 3rd Circuit has ruled c(2)’s scope of protection is limited to work related injuries, and does not cover treating doctor notes for non-work medical conditions or off work injuries: PATH v. United States Department of Labor.  As for where the Bala case goes from here, and the implications of this ruling by the 3rd Circuit, stay tuned.