Administrative Law Judge Rejects Railroad’s Argument In Case Under FRSA

I previously wrote a post about how railroads can use a system of operational rules testing as a form of harassment and retaliation after workers report safety concerns or injuries on duty. In one such case where those allegations have been made against CSX, an Administrative Law Judge recently rejected the railroad's argument that the case should be dismissed because the railroad had a legitimate justification (the alleged rules violations) for suspending my client. The ALJ found that there was "ample evidence" to question whether the employee's injury reports contributed to the railroad's decision to suspend him. The ALJ noted that my client was subjected to 20 different rules tests on the date of the subject occurrence, whereas the engineer on the crew (who did not previously report an injury) was only tested on six rules. Other employees subjected to a higher number of tests on a given day had also previously reported injuries. The case will proceed to a full hearing in the spring for a determination of whether this disparate treatment, and subsequent suspension, was a violation of the FRSA. A copy of the full decision, Case No. 2012-FRS-00010, will be posted here by the Department of Labor.

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