Last month, the Department of Labor announced that retaliation complaints, including those brought pursuant to the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA), can be filed online at the DOL website. This seemingly minor announcement is actually very important. Simplicity and speed in the filing process can be crucial to protecting an employee's rights. Complaints under the FRSA have a very short time limit - they must be filed within 180 days of when the employee knew or should have known of the railroad's adverse action against him. If the employee is not represented by counsel, the convenience and ease of the new online form could be the difference in getting the complaint filed on time. And the questions included in Part 3 of the form guide the employee to provide facts about each element of an FRSA claim.
Once submitted online, the complaint is automatically routed to the appropriate OSHA investigator, who will contact the employee or his representative to follow up.