Train Law Blog

Train Law Blog

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What Is A Hazardous Safety Condition?

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act

Rail workers who report a “hazardous safety condition” are protected from retaliation by FRSA subsection (b)(1)(A). There are not many cases discussing the scope of that protection, but a recent federal district court decision brings it into sharper focus. Head v. Norfolk Southern Railway Company. The 3rd Circuit was the first court to comment on… Continue Reading

New Guidelines on FRSA Settlement Agreements

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act

Recognizing it’s hard to blow the whistle once you’ve been gagged, OSHA has issued new guidelines prohibiting the use of gag and confidentiality clauses in settlement agreements. See Policy Guidelines for Approving Settlement Agreements in Whistleblower Cases. OSHA reviews settlement agreements between whistleblowers and their employers “to ensure they are fair, adequate, reasonable, and in… Continue Reading

Spotlight on CSX Retaliation

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act

You can tell a lot about a workplace culture by how managers react to employee safety complaints. Enlightened managers welcome safety complaints, benighted managers suppress them. Enlightened managers view such complaints as a valuable opportunity for improvement, and underscore the first importance of safety by publicly thanking those employees. Benighted managers view such complaints as… Continue Reading

The Broad Scope of FRSA Adverse Action Reaffirmed

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act

A federal judge has confirmed the principle that “adverse action” prohibited by the Federal Railroad Safety Act is any action that would dissuade a reasonable employee from engaging in FRSA protected activities (such as reporting injuries or safety hazards or following a treating doctor’s orders). It is not limited to the actual imposition of discipline,… Continue Reading

7th Circuit Pulls the Plug on Election of Remedies Defense

Posted in Federal Rail Safety Act

For years, railroads have argued that a worker’s pursuit of collective bargaining agreement arbitration constitutes an “election of remedies” defense to a Federal Rail Safety Act claim. But after being rejected by half a dozen judges, that bogus defense was on life support. Now, in a devastating decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has… Continue Reading

Video Interview: Discussing the landscape of rail safety with LXBN TV

Posted in Railroad Accidents, Railroad Safety

Responding to my recent post  about Metro North Railroad’s Spuyten Duyvil train derailment, Colin O’Keefe of LXBN interviewed me regarding the culture of rail safety on our nations railroads, and the external and internal factors that make it so subpar.  Rail employees are the eyes and ears of safety on the property, but recently Congress and OSHA’s Whistleblower Directorate have confirmed a… Continue Reading