Do You Need a Public Transit Safety Whistleblower Lawyer?

Do You Need a Public Transit Safety Whistleblower Lawyer?
  • Are you a transit worker who's being fired after raising safety issues?
  • Have you been the victim of unfair retaliation because you refused to work in dangerous conditions on public transit?
  • Is your career now in jeopardy, even though you stood up for the public's safety?

If you face wrongful termination because you reported a public transportation safety concern, the law is on your side.

In 2007 President George W. Bush signed the 9/11 Act, which included the National Transit Systems Security Act of 2007 (NTSSA). The NTSSA enhances transit security by encouraging public transportation employees to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation. Under the NTSSA's whistleblower-protection provision, transit systems cannot punish workers who report danger or refuse to work in an unsafe environment. The NTSSA provides damages for any illegal harm suffered by a good-faith whistleblower. If you are a transit worker who was wrongfully dismissed, the NTSSA may help to get your job back.

The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm are experienced in representing employees in forums where NTSSA claims are brought, both before the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and in federal court. We are based in Washington, D.C., but we take cases nationwide.

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Important statutes in this area of law:

If you have suffered illegal retaliation under the NTSSA, you may be entitled to reinstatement, back pay, and compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and special damages including litigation costs such as expert witness fees and reasonable attorney fees.

As with all legal claims, deadlines are crucial. The NTSSA gives wrongfully treated workers 180 days to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a part of the DOL.

Frequently Asked Questions

What activities are covered by NTSSA whistleblower protection?

An employee may engage in protected activity by:

  • Reporting a hazardous safety or security condition;
  • Refusing to work when confronted by a hazardous safety or security condition related to the performance of the employee’s duties;
  • Refusing to authorize the use of any safety or security related equipment, track or structures under certain hazardous conditions;
  • Providing information or assisting an investigation regarding conduct which the employee reasonably believes constitutes a violation of federal law relating to public transportation safety and security — or relating to fraud, waste, or abuse of federal funds intended for public transportation safety and security;
  • Being perceived by the employer to have engaged in the protected activity;
  • Refusing to violate or assist in the violation of a federal law;
  • Filing an employee protection complaint under NTSSA;
  • Cooperating with a safety or security investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or the National Transportation Security Board (NTSB); or
  • Furnishing information to the DOT, DHS, NTSB, or any law enforcement agency regarding an accident resulting in death or injury to a person in connection with public transportation.

What sort of employer retaliation is forbidden?

The NTSSA prohibits any action taken by an employer that has a negative effect on the employee’s terms, conditions, or privileges of employment. This includes intimidation, blacklisting, termination, suspension, demotion, reduction in salary, failure to hire, harassment, and any act that would dissuade a reasonable person from engaging in further protected activity.

What must an employee prove to prevail?

To prevail in an NTSSA case, an employee must establish that he or she engaged in a protected activity and that the protected activity was a contributing factor in the unfavorable personnel action.

What is the employer’s burden?

If a plaintiff successfully shows that protected activity was a contributing factor to the adverse action, an employer may still avoid liability by demonstrating by clear and convincing evidence that it would have taken the same action even without the protected activity.

What can a prevailing plaintiff recover?

A prevailing plaintiff is entitled to reinstatement, back pay, and compensatory damages. In addition, a prevailing plaintiff can recover exemplary or punitive damages up to $250,000.