Railroad Whistleblower Attorney
Learn About the Federal Laws that Protect Railroad Employees Who Report Safety Concerns, Fraud, and Other Issues
Railroad employees who encounter safety hazards, fraud, and other issues on the job often feel compelled to come forward. They want to speak up to do the right thing—and to make sure that their coworkers and fellow taxpayers do not pay the costs of their employers’ greed, carelessness, and mistakes.
But, they often have concerns as well. Most often, these concerns have to do with retaliation. They want to know that they won’t lose their job and their ability to support their family. Fortunately, strong protections exist for railroad whistleblowers under federal law. As long as railroad employees come forward through the proper channels, they are entitled to clear protections—and they are entitled to clear remedies in the event that their employers violate their federal rights.
At Oberheiden P.C., we help railroad employees blow the whistle on safety concerns, fraud, and other issues. When you contact us, we will arrange for you to speak with an experienced railroad whistleblower lawyer one-on-one. All information you share will be held in strict confidence, and we will help you make an informed decision about whether you want to come forward. If you choose to do so, we will represent you throughout the process, working with the government on your behalf every step of the way.
The Federal Whistleblower Laws that Apply to Railroad Employees
The railroad industry is somewhat unique in that it is subject to industry-specific oversight at the federal level. There are federal laws and regulations that specifically protect employees in the railroad industry, including railroad employees who qualify as whistleblowers.
But, railroad employees are protected under many other federal laws as well. At Oberheiden P.C., our whistleblower lawyers help railroad employees make protected disclosures under laws including:
Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA)
The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) includes whistleblower provisions that protect railroad employees who come forward with information about safety concerns and other issues. In addition to employees of railroad carriers, it applies to employees of contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, and various other companies involved in the railroad industry.
Under the FRSA, covered employees are protected from retaliation when they disclose various forms of civil and criminal misconduct through the proper channels. This includes (but is not limited to) misconduct such as:
- Violations of federal laws and regulations related to railroad safety and security
- Requests for employees to violate, or assist in violating, any federal law or regulation related to railroad safety or security
- Retaliation against co-workers who report safety concerns, injuries, or illnesses
- Gross fraud, waste, or abuse of federal grants or other public funds
- Other violations that compromise railroad worker safety, public safety, or taxpayer funds
Under Public Law 110-53, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for administering the FRSA’s whistleblower provisions and protections. As a result, filing a whistleblower complaint involves dealing with OSHA—and strict deadlines apply. A railroad whistleblower attorney at Oberheiden P.C. can determine if the information you have in your possession qualifies under the FRSA; and, if so, we can assist you with promptly submitting your complaint to OSHA in accordance with the statute’s requirements.
False Claims Act (FCA)
Railroad employees can also file whistleblower claims under the False Claims Act (FCA) in some cases. The FCA is a federal statute that prohibits federal contractors, subcontractors, grant recipients, and other parties from submitting “false or fraudulent” claims to the government. Under the FCA, false and fraudulent claims can take many forms, from overbilling under government contracts to providing inferior materials and misrepresenting compliance with the terms of federal contracts and grants.
Whether railroad employees should file whistleblower claims under the FRSA or the FCA depends on the specific circumstances involved in each particular case. There are different filing requirements and procedures under each statute, and following the relevant requirements and procedures can be essential for securing the statutory protections that are available. Our railroad whistleblower lawyers have extensive experience under the FCA, and we can assist with these types of railroad whistleblower claims as well.
Dodd-Frank Act, Sarbanes Oxley Act, and Other Federal Laws
Federal laws such as the Dodd-Frank Act, Sarbanes Oxley Act, and other federal securities laws also provide whistleblower protections to employees who choose to come forward. If the information you have in your possession relates to corporate fraud or investor fraud rather than a safety issue or fraud under a government contract or program, then you may need to file your whistleblower complaint under one of these statutes instead. Our railroad whistleblower attorneys have significant experience under these statutes as well, and we can walk you through everything you need to know.
While all federal whistleblower statutes provide largely similar protections, there are important differences—and some of these statutes entitle whistleblowers to monetary awards. As a result, if you are thinking about blowing the whistle, it is imperative that you make informed decisions about your next steps. Our railroad whistleblower lawyers can advise and represent you every step of the way so that you feel comfortable and confident in your decision-making.
Blowing the Whistle as a Railroad Employee
So, you’re thinking about blowing the whistle as a railroad employee. What can you expect if you decide to come forward? Here is what you can expect when you work with a railroad whistleblower attorney at Oberheiden P.C.:
- We Will Hold Your Information in Strict Confidence – All information you share with us will be held in strict confidence. We will not share it with anyone unless and until you decide to come forward.
- We Will Help You Make Informed Decisions – From deciding whether to come forward to deciding which federal agency to contact, we will help you make informed decisions about all aspects of your federal whistleblower complaint. Under no circumstances will we pressure you to come forward.
- We Will Communicate with OSHA or Other Appropriate Federal Authorities on Your Behalf – If you decide to come forward, we will communicate with the government on your behalf. We will do this through the entire process, from filing your complaint to the government’s final resolution.
- We Will Work with the Government to Protect Your Identity – Railroad whistleblowers are entitled to confidentiality. We will work with the government to protect your identity to the fullest extent possible.
- We Will Work with the Government to Establish Accountability – We will also work with the government to establish accountability. Our railroad whistleblower lawyers will assist the government with leveraging the information you provide and gathering additional information through its investigative processes.
FAQs: Railroad Employees’ Rights Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act and Other Federal Laws
Are railroad employees entitled to confidentiality when they blow the whistle under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA)?
Yes, railroad employees are entitled to confidentiality when they blow the whistle under the FRSA. The statute specifically prohibits the disclosure of whistleblowers’ identities, and protecting whistleblowers’ identities is one of the keys to the success of the federal government’s whistleblower programs.
What happens if my railroad employer retaliates in violation of the FRSA?
The FRSA prohibits retaliation against railroad employees who blow the whistle on safety violations, fraud, and other issues. If your employer retaliates against you in violation of the FRSA, you may be entitled to reinstatement, back pay with interest, and other compensatory and punitive damages. Hopefully your employer will do the right thing; but, if it doesn’t, our railroad whistleblower attorneys can take all necessary action to enforce your legal rights.
When should railroad employees blow the whistle?
It isn’t always easy to decide whether you should blow the whistle. If you believe you have information that may qualify you as a whistleblower, a railroad whistleblower attorney at Oberheiden P.C. can help you make an informed decision about whether to come forward.
How long do I have to file a railroad whistleblower complaint?
If you have information that qualifies you as a railroad whistleblower, the key is to come forward promptly. The sooner you take action, the more your information will assist the federal government. While there is a 180-day deadline under the FRSA, this deadline only applies to seeking remedies for retaliation after you have filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.
How can a railroad whistleblower attorney help me?
From deciding whether to come forward to working with the government to prove fraud or other wrongdoing, there are several ways an experienced railroad whistleblower attorney can help you. At Oberheiden P.C., we provide 100% free and confidential consultations, so it costs nothing to ensure that you are making informed decisions about your next steps.
Speak with a Railroad Whistleblower Attorney in Confidence As Soon As Possible
If you would like to speak with an experienced railroad whistleblower attorney in confidence, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential initial consultation at Oberheiden P.C. as soon as possible, please call 888-680-1745 or tell us how we can reach you online today.