When Employers Retaliate Against Injured Railroad Workers

OSHA regulations protect workers against retaliation for filing whistleblower complaints against a carrier for safety violations. When workers are injured on the job, they have a right to report the circumstances and negligent behaviors that caused the injuries.

Legal Protections for Injured Railroad Workers

The National Transit Systems Security Act and the Federal Railroad Safety Act grant employees the right to file complaints without a threat of retaliation from an employer. These acts cover employees of both private carriers and public transportation agencies. Under these laws, workers can file complaints regarding both safety and security.

Employers are prohibited from interfering in an employee’s pursuit of treatment or denying an employee’s right to medical care following an incident. Furthermore, employers are prohibited from taking retaliatory actions against an employee who files a complaint. Actions that are prohibited include termination of employment, blacklisting, workplace harassment and intimidation, disciplinary actions, threats, denial of benefits, and reduction in hours.

Protected Activities

Railroad workers can file complaints related to violations of federal law and any governing regulations designed to promote railroad safety and security. Individuals are also allowed to report work-related injuries and illnesses and file complaints when they refuse work that presents an imminent and unnecessary threat to their safety. The law also grants railroad workers the right to file complaints when they are denied proper safety equipment or treatment following an injury.

Recovery from Retaliation

Individuals may file complaints for retaliation up to 180 days following the retaliatory action. These complaints may be filed in writing with the nearest OSHA office. Following the review of the complaint, OSHA may issue an order to the employer outlining the required corrective actions. These can include putting the employee back to work, restoring pay/position, payment of lost wages, restoration of benefits, and more. However, this is not the final step and employers can request a full hearing in front of a judge at the Department of Labor. The judge’s ruling can then be appealed to the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board. A railroad injury lawyer often helps plaintiffs prepare and file their complaints so the factors and supporting evidence are clearly presented for review.