Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994

Also known as: FRSA

Bill Clinton

Signed into law by Bill Clinton
July 05, 1994

The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) was a substantial law enacted affecting the railroad industry. One of its provisions related to whistleblowers. As with other whistleblower provisions, Congress recognized that an effective way to ensure disclosure and reporting of noncompliance with safety regulations for the railroad industry was to create employee protections for whistleblowers. The FRSA whistleblower protections are for employees who report certain safety violations and it forbids punishing employees for their efforts to stop violations. This law was strengthened by Section 1536 of The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act (Public Law 1105-53), where whistleblowers were given even greater rights, remedies, and procedures than before.

Enforcement & Remedies

Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), employees who suffer illegal workplace retaliation must file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), within 180 days. OSHA will investigate complaints and can order remedies; employees who are unhappy with the result can appeal to an administrative judge at the DOL, with additional levels of review available within the DOL and in the federal courts. Remedies may include reinstatement, back pay, and special damages as well as litigation costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorney fees.

Notable sponsors: Jack Brooks