November 26, 2014

Mo. Supreme Court rules FELA awards not taxable

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In cases brought by the law firm of Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP of St. Louis on behalf of injured railroad workers, two courts have ruled favorably to workers that FELA judgments are not subject to tax withholding under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The Missouri Supreme Court in Mickey v. BNSF Railway Co., [...]

Justice Department weighs in on BNSF appeal

The U.S. Justice Department is weighing in on an appeal by BNSF railroad over a $145,000 judgment to a former employee hurt on the job, saying a judge’s order to pay the full amount without deducting federal railroad retirement taxes could be “harmful to the United States because … it may interfere with federal tax [...]

OSHA, BNSF reach accord over whistleblowers

OSHA logo; OSHA

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has signed an accord with BNSF Railway Co. announcing BNSF’s voluntary revision of several personnel policies that OSHA alleged violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act and dissuaded workers from reporting on-the-job injuries. FRSA’s Section 20109 protects railroad workers from [...]

SEPTA fails in backdoor attempt to escape FELA

It is no secret that railroads have tried with all their king’s horsemen and all their king’s men (and women) to send to the dust bin of history the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), considered the best friend of rail workers in forcing carriers to improve workplace safety. That 1908 law allows railroaders to recover [...]

Supreme Court declines to weaken FELA

WASHINGTON — In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court June 23 declined to tighten the standard of proof injured rail workers must demonstrate to win an award under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA). The ruling is a significant victory for injured rail workers. The FELA — a railroader’s most cherished workplace safety assurance — [...]

AAR confirms FELA saves lives

Rail operating employees know the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) saves lives by forcing railroads to address safety problems carriers might ignore if the penalty were no more than the equivalent of a parking ticket. Confirmation now comes from the Association of American Railroads (AAR), which speaks for the carriers. A July 29 presentation by [...]

Happy 100th birthday, FELA

By Mike FutheyInternational President A railroader’s most cherished workplace safety assurance is the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), which turns 100 years old this month. Railroading is among the most dangerous occupations in America. In an industry that too often puts profits ahead of safety, the FELA is a powerful prod to improved workplace safety. [...]

Must I see doctors chosen by the railroad?

FELA Update By Mark Allen Coordinator of UTU Designated Legal Counsel I frequently hear about injured railroad workers who are confused by statements made to them by railroad claims department persons or supervisors that if they don’t see doctors chosen by the railroad, their medical bills won’t be paid. Let’s be clear. You have the [...]

Proving negligence under FELA

FELA Update By Mark Allen Coordinator of UTU Designated Legal Counsel The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) was enacted by Congress in 1908 to give railroad employees the right, under federal law, to recover damages from their employers for injuries occurring at work. However, generally, there must be proof of negligence on the part of [...]

What are my rights if I’m injured in a hired van?

By Mark AllenCoordinator of UTU Designated Legal Counsel Railroad workers sometimes jokingly say they spend more time in vans than trains as railroads transport their workers using contract limousine services. As agents of the railroad, these companies may be held to the same legal standard as the railroad if their negligence causes injuries. It is [...]