What is the Federal Railroad Safety Act?

Submitted by pec on

If you’re a railroad worker in the U.S., the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) protects you from retaliation and ensures your employer must take certain steps to provide for your safety. You may take legal action if an employer violates the FRSA.

However, you might not know whether you have a valid case if you’re not familiar with this law. The following overview will explain the basics, helping you better understand how the FRSA protects you and other workers in the railroad industry.

What is the FRSA?

The Federal Railroad Safety Act prohibits railroad carriers from engaging in acts of discrimination or retaliation against workers who:

  • Provide information to investigators regarding potential violations of applicable laws or regulations on the part of a railroad carrier
  • Refuse to participate in acts that would involve violating the law or regulations
  • File complaints or testify in relevant proceedings
  • Notify the carrier or the Secretary of Transportation about a work-related injury or illness
  • Cooperate with safety or security investigations
  • Provide relevant information to investigators after accidents
  • Report hours on duty accurately

The law also prevents railroad carriers from retaliating against employees who report hazardous conditions and/or refuse to work among hazards. In addition, it ensures workers have the right to receive prompt medical attention when injured.

How Does it Protect My Rights?

The FRSA protects the rights of railroad workers in several ways. First, its provisions serve to keep workers safe. Along with outlining their rights to not work among hazardous conditions, the law also ensures workers feel comfortable reporting potential hazards. The more comfortable workers feel reporting safety issues, the better the odds someone will properly address said issues.

The law also clearly establishes the responsibilities of railroad carriers when workers sustain injuries. The FRSA makes it clear that workers have the right to receive prompt and necessary medical care.

Finally, the law offers railroad workers a means of taking legal action when an employer violates their rights. For example, maybe you work for a railroad company and have been the victim of harassment, discrimination, or other such forms of mistreatment after cooperating with investigators who suspect your employer of violating safety regulations. Under the FRSA, you may take such actions as reporting your experiences to OSHA.

Don’t delay if you plan on doing so. You must file your complaint within 180 days of experiencing retaliation. Your employer may not face any legal penalties if you were to miss the deadline.

Get Help From an Employment Law Attorney

It may not always be clear whether a railroad carrier has violated the FRSA. If you’re not sure whether you have a valid case, strongly consider speaking with a lawyer. An employment law attorney handling cases involving FRSA violations can review the details of your case and explain your legal options. If you hire a lawyer, they can also provide the representation you need to improve your chances of seeing justice served. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to get connected with an independent employment law attorney who subscribes to the website and may be able to help with your case.

Add new comment