Cases & Deals

BNSF wins dismissal of three former employees' whistleblower claims following five-day hearing

Client(s) BNSF Railway Company

Following a five-day hearing before a U.S. Department of Labor administrative law judge, Jones Day obtained a complete dismissal of three former employees' Federal Railroad Safety Act ("FRSA") whistleblower claims against BNSF Railway Company. The employees claimed they were unlawfully terminated in retaliation for raising a safety complaint regarding the condition of the toilet compartment on their train. Specifically, they reported that the toilet had leaked chemicals and waste, creating a hazardous condition and in violation of Federal Railroad Administration regulations. At the hearing, Jones Day showed the former employees falsified the complaint in order to receive additional pay under their collective bargaining agreement. Dismissing their claims, the Administrative Law Judge held the former employees did not engage in protected activity under the FRSA because they were dishonest and that such claims do not constitute complaints of safety violations pursuant to the FRSA.

Kenneth Robinson, Justin Hoot, and Jackie Sims v. BNSF Railway Company, 2013-FRS-00072, 2013-FRS-00073, 2013-FRS-00074 (ALJ July 7, 2015)