railroad injury retaliation

When a BNSF employee reports an on-the-job injury, the Railroad orders the employee to disclose medical information to a medical case manager. But when an employee reports a non-work related injury, the Railroad leaves them alone. BNSF employee Travis Klinger reported a work injury and was ordered to contact such a medical manager. When he declined to do so, he was suspended for “failure to comply with a direct order.” The Administrative Law Judge reversed that discipline and ordered BNSF to pay $100,000 in punitive damages. Klinger v. BNSF Railway.

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What Is A “Good Faith” Refusal?

Under subsection (a)(2) of the Federal Rail Safety Act, it is protected activity for an employee “to refuse to violate or assist in the violation of any Federal law, rule, or regulation relating to railroad safety.” Now comes a Circuit Court decision clarifying what qualifies as “a refusal” to violate a FRA safety regulation.


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In a resounding decision, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals explains why a rail worker’s pursuit of a racial or sexual discrimination claim does not constitute an “election of remedies” barring that worker from pressing a Federal Rail Safety Act Section 20109 whistleblower retaliation claim.

In Lee v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company, carman Charles

The latest Federal Rail Safety Act district court decision confirms that the statutory jurisdiction of the federal courts over railroad whistleblower cases can not be limited by DOL regulations or actions.

After trackmen Donald Glista and William Orr reported injuries, Norfolk Southern Railway fired them for "conduct unbecoming" and for making "false and conflicting statements." For that blatant

Two recent decisions clarify the "intervening event" defense, the limitations period, and the basis for emotional distress damages in Federal Rail Safety Act cases.

An "Intervening Event" Is Not A FRSA Defense

Railroads often argue that the firing of an employee was based on an "intervening event" that breaks the causal connection between the FRSA protected activity and