Train Law Blog

Train Law Blog

The Source for Railroad Injuries & Whistleblower Protection

Tag Archives: railroad injury retaliation

Another Circuit Court Shoots Down “Election of Remedies” Defense

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
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 Lee… Continue Reading

When Context Is Everything

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
When does a sentence not mean what it seems to say? When it is quoted out of context. And that is certainly the case with one sentence in the 8th Circuit’s Kuduk v. BNSF Ry. Co., 768 F.3d 786 (8th Cir. 2014), decision railroad attorneys love to rip out of context and wave at judges… Continue Reading

FRSA District Court Decisions Update

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
The trickle of federal district court FRSA decisions has turned into a steady stream. To keep up, here is a listing of recent district court opinions interpreting Section 20109 of the Federal Rail Safety Act, with a summary of their significance. Temporal proximity Myles v. Northeast Ill. Reg’l Commuter Rail Corp., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS… Continue Reading

Administrative Review Board Clarifies FRSA Burdens of Proof

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
In a rare en banc decision, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board explains why the Federal Rail Safety Act’s distinct two step burden of proof process must never be merged into one. Powers v. Union Pacific Railroad Company also is significant for reminding us that the subjective evaluations of railroad managers carry virtually… Continue Reading

FRSA Federal Court Jurisdiction Clarified

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
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… Continue Reading

FRSA Case Law Update

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
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… Continue Reading

The FRSA Right Not To Work When Medically Unfit

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
When airline pilots feel medically unfit to fly, they have a right to stand down and seek medical attention without any adverse consequences. Thanks to the Federal Rail Safety Act, locomotive engineers (and all other railroad workers) now enjoy the same right to protect themselves, their co-workers, and the public. When Locomotive Engineer Lonnie Smith became… Continue Reading

How To Analyze “False and Misleading” Injury Report Retaliation

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
Griebel v. Union Pacific Railroad is yet another example of rail management’s attempt to circumvent the Federal Rail Safety Act through discipline for "false and misleading" injury reports. After Griebel reported a work-related injury, the Railroad fired him for a "failure to honestly and timely make a report of injury." A Public Law Board eventually… Continue Reading

FRSA Protects Injured Workers From Medical Treatment Interference

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act
In a major decision clarifying the scope of the FRSA, OSHA confirms that a railroad’s denial, delay, or interference with an injured employee’s medical treatment constitutes adverse action recoverable under FRSA Section (a)(4). Section (a)(4) protects employees from adverse action due to the reporting of a work-related injury, and OSHA now recognizes that a railroad’s… Continue Reading