Nichols Kaster Represents Amtrak Workers Ordered To Avoid Reporting Hazardous Rail Conditions

In recently-filed charges before the Department of Labor, two Amtrak track inspectors allege that Amtrak ordered them to not report hazardous track conditions, and retaliated against them when they refused to do so.

In the course of their jobs, the two track inspectors, Howard Pursley and James Hurd, frequently noticed sections of track were dangerous and required repair to avoid accidents. When they reported these conditions to their supervisor in their written reports, it triggered speed restrictions and started the Federal Railroad Administration's deadline for track repair. Rather than putting the safety of Amtrak's passengers first and abiding by these restrictions, Hurd and Pursley's supervisor insisted that they modify their reports to remove the safety concerns. Later, the supervisor even introduced separate, unofficial forms on which he insisted that Hurd and Pursley file their reports. This off-the-books reporting was designed to keep safety measures, such as speed limits and mandatory repair schedules, from being put in place on the unsafe track.

When Hurd and Pursley continued to protest this suppression, their supervisor had them suspended for a month based on trumped-up charges. This retaliation violates the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), and Hurd and Pursley have filed a complaint with the Department of Labor seeking correction of this wrongdoing.

Complainants are represented by Joseph C. Hashmall and Paul J. Lukas from Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. The matter was filed with the Department of Labor, Region Five, Case Numbers 5-2700-15-043 and 5-2700-15-044.

Nichols Kaster frequently represents railroad workers who have been retaliated against for flagging unsafe conditions or reporting injuries. If you feel that you may have a claim, please contact us. Additional information may be found by calling Nichols Kaster, PLLP toll free at (877) 344-4628.