There are a variety of Federal and State laws that protect workers for reporting unsafe conditions, injuries, or fraud involving government funds. OSHA prohibits discrimination relating to workplace safety or health, asbestos exposure, nuclear or environmental dangers, motor vehicle safety, problems in the airline, maritime, public transportation, food, and consumer product industries.
In 2007, the Federal Rail Safety Act was amended to include new whistleblower protections for railroad workers and contractors. This amendment 49 U.S.C. Section 20109 prohibits railroads from retaliating against employees who report injuries or unsafe conditions. Coercing an injured employee from reporting an accident or telling him he will be disciplined if a report is filed is now a violation of federal law.
The employee protections under the Act are very broad and include any discipline, termination, intimidation, denial of benefits, and demotion. Remedies include reinstatement with seniority, back pay with interest, compensatory damages, special damages and reasonable attorney fees. Damages may also include punitive damages not to exceed $250,000.
Section 20109(c)(1) also prohibits a railroad carrier from denying, delaying, or interfering with the medical or first aid treatment of an employee injured on the job. That would include accompanying an injured employee into the emergency room or preventing an employee from taking an ambulance to the nearest hospital.
Employees may proceed against the railroad under OSHA, FELA, and their collective bargaining agreement simultaneously under certain circumstances. Consulting an attorney who is experienced in all of these laws is vital to protecting your rights.
For over 35 years Attorney Robert Naumes has advised and represented injured employees concerning the FELA, RRB, OSHA, and the Jones Act. Put his experience to work for you immediately after your injury to protect all of your rights.