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49 U.S.C. § 20109 – Railroad Retaliation

In 2007 federal legislation was passed which provides specific whistleblower protections for railroad workers pursuant to the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA), 49 U.S.C. § 20109. Under the FRSA, a railroad may not discharge, demote, suspend, reprimand, or in any other way discriminate or discipline a railroad worker who engages in any of the following protected activities:

  • Providing information assisting in an investigation regarding a violation of a safety law or rule regarding railroad safety issues; this includes Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) investigations and railroad investigations.
  • Refusing to violate a safety law or rule.
  • Filing a complaint regarding a safety violation.
  • Reporting a personal injury.
  • Furnishing information to the FRA or National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) regarding an injury.
  • Reporting an unsafe working condition.
  • Filing a complaint under the FRSA.
  • Refusing to work when faced with an unsafe condition if:
    • No reasonable alternative is available; and
    • There is a risk of injury and no time to eliminate the danger; and
    • The employee has notified the carrier, if possible, of the unsafe condition and his intent not to perform the work.

An employee who alleges discipline or discrimination in violation of this law must:

  • File a written complaint with the Department of Labor within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act; and
  • Provide notice to the official who allegedly committed the discriminatory act and to the railroad.

The available remedies under this law include the following:

  • Back pay with interest
  • Reinstatement with seniority rights unimpaired
  • Attorneys fees and court costs
  • Punitive damages not to exceed $250,000
Great Lawyer!

Jeff Chod was my lawyer in a suit against MRL in Missoula Montana.He
distinguished himself in a very professional manner. His hard work,
extensive knowledge and attention to detail enabled me to get a
satisfactorysettlement. He was easily accessible and quickly attended to all my
questions and worries. I highly recommend Jeff to anyone due to his work
ethic and willingness to go that extra mile to insure his client gets the best
possible results.

~ Brian, Victor, MT
Changed my life

I met Mr. Chod in 2007. It was the best decision I have ever made to
hire him. I was injured and scared, and he did not know me, but gave
me confidence, told me to focus on getting better and he would take
care of the rest. Amazingly he did and I made also a friend for life.

~ Tony, Amelia, OH
My experience was outstanding

As a former MOW employee for Wisconsin Central Railroad in need of an
injury attorney, it has been my experience that good FELA attorneys are hard
to find. After having to fire my first attorney due to a very frustrating
experience, I found attorney Chod and from that point on, my experience
was nothing short of outstanding. Jeff treated me personally with
compassion as if I were his only client and understood completely
the seriousness of my injury. He fought a very long and
tough battle against a team of very high powered attorneys
with due diligence...

~ Todd, Wausau, WI
Railroad Incident

I hired Mr. Chod after I had an incident at a mine here in
Wyoming when I worked for the Union Pacific Railroad
and he did an excellent job of settling my case. Mr. Chod
worked well with myself and the doctors he talked to and
other railroad employees.

~ Connie, Douglas, WY
When you need a winner, he is your guy...

In September of 2014 I suffered a career ending injury at BNSF Railway. The RR choose to not do the right thing even though I continued to have faith in them. I talked to Jeff on a recommendation of a friend after many broken promises by BNSF. I had only done one thing wrong that night, and that was trusting BNSF to accurately train, and prepare a operator to safely work along side me. I talked with Jeff and he helped ease my mind and finally realize that the RR was not conducting themselves in my best interest or livelihood. My injuries physically were were permanent and the PTSD was overwhelming and learning to deal with it was life altering. Jeff worked tirelessly for me and my future well-being. He fought them like David and Goliath and we won.

~ Lisa, Memphis, TN
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