Railroad workers have an important role. They take care of tracks, run trains and make sure passengers are safe. However, there are times when these workers see things that are not right at work.
When they tell someone about these problems, they become whistleblowers. Whistleblower laws protect these individuals from getting into trouble for speaking up.
What is whistleblower retaliation?
Whistleblowing occurs when someone tells others about illegal or unsafe things happening at their workplace. In 2022, 2832 whistleblower cases received reviews. For railroad workers, this might mean reporting safety problems, fraud or unfair treatment.
Retaliation occurs when an employer fires, denies advancement, demotes or otherwise punishes a whistleblower because he or she reported a problem.
What legal protection do railroad workers have?
The Federal Railroad Safety Act stops employers from treating railroad workers badly after they report safety issues or problems. It covers reporting injuries, refusing to work in unsafe conditions or helping with safety investigations. If a railroad worker receives unfair treatment because they told someone about a problem, they can file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The National Transit Systems Security Act helps employees of commuter railroads if they receive punishment for reporting security issues or problems. Just like the FRSA, employees can file complaints with OSHA if they think employers treat them unfairly.
What are railroad workers’ rights?
If workers tell someone about a problem and receive punishment, they should write down what happened. Include the dates, times, places and the people involved. The Government Accountability Project and Empower Oversight Whistleblowers & Research can help protect these whistleblowers.
Whistleblower protection laws keep railroad workers safe from retaliation.