February 2012 Archives

OSHA Not Happy With BNSF's "Points Policy"

Last summer OSHA told BNSF to stop using its "points policy" to try to intimidate employees out of reporting on-duty personal injuries. The Federal Railroad Safety Act of 2007 prohibits railroads from retaliating against employees who report on-duty injuries. "Retaliating" includes discharge and other types of adverse employment action. This statute also protects employees who try to accurately report their hours of service, or who report unsafe track or unsafe equipment, or who refuse in good faith to work on unsafe track or equipment. Congress gave OSHA, rather than the Federal Railroad Administration, jurisdiction over such claims because OSHA already had substantial experience investigating and deciding similar retaliation claims in other industries. If successful, the employee may be entitled to reinstatement with retroactive seniority, back pay with interest, punitive damages, and costs and attorney's fees.

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