Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008
Signed into law by George W. Bush
October 16, 2008
The Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 expanded protected activity for rail transportation whistleblowers provided in the Federal Railroad Safety Act to include requests for medical attention and prohibits a railroad carrier from disciplining an employee for requesting medical or first aid treatment or for following a doctor’s orders.
Enforcement & Remedies
Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 amends, 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.