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Anti-retaliation provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act protect workers seeking medical treatment for non-work related medical conditions

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 6:58 AM
In a major win for rail labor across the country, the federal Administrative Review Board has ruled that the anti-retaliation provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) do indeed protect workers seeking medical treatment for non-work related medical conditions. This major Department of Labor decision was reached in Williams v. Grand Trunk Western Railroad. In this important ruling, the Board explicitly rejected the 3rd Circuit’s holding in Bala v. PATH, which imposed a work related limitation on the scope of anti-retaliation protections provided under section (c)(2) of the FRSA. What does this mean? In every federal Circuit other than the 3rd (which is made up of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), it now is the official position of the Department of Labor that FRSA (c)(2) protects employees who follow their treating doctor’s orders for a non-work related medical condition. Railroad workers everywhere except Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will now be able to prosecute cases with OSHA and Administrative Law Judges when railroads discipline them for following the orders of their treating doctors, regardless of whether the medical condition is work or non-work related. For more information or legal questions, please call and speak to one of Holland Law Firm’s whistleblower attorneys at 1-877-ALL-FELA.

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