Yes. Being charged with a rule violation and being brought into investigation are considered retaliation if the railroad is retaliating against you for a protected activity that’s covered under the whistleblower statute. Again, those protected activities revolve around safety. All of these instances are protected activities:
- If you are refusing to violate a safety law or rule,
- If you are filing a complaint regarding a safety violation,
- If you are reporting a personal injury,
- If you are providing information regarding an injury to a coworker or yourself to the FRA,
- If you are reporting an unsafe working condition.
If you are engaging in these activities and the railroad charges you with a rule violation, it is important to speak with an experienced railroad attorney to determine if that rule violation is connected to the fact that you are reporting safety concerns. The rule violation may not have anything to do with the protected activity, but it is the railroad’s way of harassing and disciplining railroaders for reporting safety concerns.
It is important once you receive a charge letter to reach out to an experienced railroad attorney to determine the facts surrounding that violation and that charge to determine whether it is a retaliatory act by the railroad.