Railroad Harassment

FILING SUIT TO STOP RAILROAD HARASSMENT

I wish to bring to your attention recent and significant changes in Federal Law regarding threats, intimidation, and harassment against railroad workers by their employers. You are no doubt aware of the actual and perceived harassment, intimidation, and threats made by railroad supervisors against employees who have been injured; who have filed an injury report; who have sought medical attention; or who have reported unsafe tools, equipment, or conditions. Many of you have been victims in the past to harassment and intimidation. Individuals have been reluctant to speak up "on the record" for fear of being fired, being disciplined or otherwise being retaliated against by the railroad. In the past, the fear of having the railroad "come down on you" was very real. Now, Federal law provides you with very real legal protections and legal remedies against the carriers.

This new legislation was passed in August 2007. It provides specific Whistle-Blower protections for railroad workers pursuant to Title 49 U.S.C. Section 20109. The new law provides that a railroad may not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand or in any other way discriminate against an employee for assisting in any investigation or providing information as outlined in Section 20109.

This protection extends to any railroad worker providing information to a supervisor or other person who has the authority to investigate, discover or stop the conduct in question. The federal protection also extends to a worker who refuses to violate or who refuses to help violate a railroad safety requirement.

Most significantly, this law also protects a worker when he REPORTS a work-related illness or injury or, taking it a step further, files a lawsuit for personal injuries pursuant to the Federal Employers' Liability Act, or agrees to testify in such a suit. Finally, the new protections also apply when a worker refuses to work in what he believes to be a hazardous situation or reports that hazardous situation.

ENFORCEMENT PROCEDURE

If you believe that your rights pursuant to this new law have been violated or that you have been a victim of railroad harassment and intimidation, an initial complaint must be filed (within 180 days of the alleged violation) with the Secretary of the Labor.

If the Secretary of Labor has not issued a ruling within 210 days, you may file a federal lawsuit and are entitled to a jury trial.

DAMAGES

Your damages include:

  • reinstatement with the same seniority status that you would have had, had you not been discriminated against;

  • any back pay with interest; and

  • damages including compensation for any special damages sustained as a result of the discrimination including litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney's fees; your damages may include punitive damages in an amount not to exceed $250,000.00.

With this legislation, no railroad worker should be afraid or reluctant to file a Report of Injury or pursue his remedies under the law.

HOW TO LEGALLY PROTECT YOURSELF

  1. If you are injured and need assistance in filling out a Personal Injury Report, call us.
  2. If you want to stop the Railroad from interfering in your medical care, call us.
  3. If you believe that you are a victim of any type of threat, harassment or intimidation by the railroad for pursuing your rights, call for a free consultation.