No, so long as you following the orders or treatment plan of a treating physician relating to an on-duty injury or illness. However, interpretation of the law is less clear when you are calling in sick for an illness or injury not work related.
In 2007, citing safety concerns to other co-workers and the general public at-large, Congress amended the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA) to include new employee protections, one of which expressly prohibits discrimination in any way against employees “for following orders or a treatment plan of a treating physician.” Congress made it very clear in enacting the regulation that sick and impaired employees should not be operating freight trains.
However, while the Department of Labor originally extended such employee protections to injuries and illnesses that do not arise at the work place (i.e., injuring your back at home and not being able to perform your job safely), some federal courts have recently limited the scope of to on-duty injuries and illnesses only. Railroad union designated legal counsel at Harrington, Thompson, Acker & Harrington, Ltd. is actively litigating this issue to extend protection beyond only the on-duty railroad injury or illness. After all, should it matter to public safety whether an employee is operating a freight train impaired due to a work related illness versus a non-work related illness? The intent of Congress in expanding the employee protections under FRSA was to remove all impaired employees from the work place without the fear of disciplinary action.
If you feel you have been adversely treated by your railroad employer for engaging in such conduct, please contact the attorneys at HTAH for free legal advice at our toll-free number (800) 828-5828. We at HTAH are at the forefront of prosecuting violations of the Federal Rail Safety Act against railroad employers nationwide.