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FRA Cracks Down on Injured Railroad Workers

Monday, March 30, 2009


The law firm of Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P. and lawyers have championed the causes of injured railroad employees that have been injured on the job, denied retirement benefits or refused disability benefits since 1995.

CLEVELAND, March 30 - BLET National President Ed Rodzwicz today hailed action by the Federal Railroad Administration to crack down on the harassment and intimidation of injured rail workers.

In today's Federal Register, the FRA published a worker-friendly interpretation of 49 CFR Part 225-Harassment and Intimidation Prohibition. The FRA now interprets harassment and intimidation of workers to occur when railroad supervisors accompany injured employees into an examination room.

"Workers often feel uncomfortable or intimidated when a representative of railroad management enters the doctor's examination room after the worker has sustained an on-the-job injury," President Rodzwicz said. "On behalf of all BLET members, I thank the FRA for clarifying this point and improving the protection of injured rail workers."

There are exceptions to the rule - a railroad supervisor can enter the exam room if the injured employee issues a voluntary invitation, or if the employee is unconscious or unable to communicate and the supervisor's input is needed to provide material information to the physician.

The rule came about after injured workers complained that unwelcome railroad supervisors entered exam rooms in an attempt to persuade doctors to issue less severe diagnoses. The less severe the diagnosis, the less likely the injury would have to be reported to the FRA.

The FRA can issue harsh financial penalties to rail companies for harassing and intimidating workers.

"This new rule protects the privacy of our members and allows them to have the same doctor-patient confidentiality that all Americans enjoy," President Rodzwicz said. "The BLET sees this favorable interpretation as a step in the right direction by the FRA."

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