The Federal Rail Safety Act (“FRSA”) was recently amended to give railroad employees a remedy when they are retaliated against for reporting on-the-job injuries. The provisions of this law have the potential to change the entire culture of the railroad industry. Railroad supervisors can no longer threaten, harass or intimidate workers in an effort to keep them from pursuing their rights under the FELA. For this change to occur, it is important that every railroad employee understand their rights under the FRSA and aggressively pursue claims when they arise.
The FRSA prohibits a railroad from retaliating against an employee for engaging in certain “protected activity.” Protected activity includes assisting in the investigation of a railroad’s violation of federal regulations, reporting safety violations, notifying the railroad of a work-related personal injury, testifying as a witness in the investigation of an injury, or accurately reporting hours on duty. A railroad may be liable under the FRSA if it disciplines, intimidates or retaliates against an employee for engaging in one of these activities.