A M ALGA M ATED TRANSIT UNION Know Your Rights ‘WHISTLEBLOWING’
ollowing six years of ATU advocacy, Congress finally enacted the National Transit Systems Security Act (NTSSA), providing comprehensive transit and over-the-road bus security. Included in the law is new retaliation protection for employees of public transportation agencies, their contractors, and subcontractors ensuring the employee’s right to report on safety or security risks, also known as “whistleblowing.” A whistleblower is an employee who, in good faith, discloses information that the employee reasonably believes evidencesthat the employer committed an illegal act.
Refusing to work when confronted with a hazardous safety or security condition that a reasonable person believes would present imminent danger of death or serious injury; and
Refusing to authorize the use of safety- or security-related equipment, if the employee is responsible for the inspection and repair of the equipment, when the employee believes the equipment is in hazardous repair.
Where possible, employees must notify the public transportation agency of the existence of a hazardous condition and the intention not to perform further work, or not to authorize the use of the hazardous equipment.
The Protections Filing a Complaint
The protections for transit employees prohibit an employer from discharging, demoting, suspending, reprimanding, or in any other way discriminating against an employee if based on any of the following acts lawfully done or perceived by the employer to have been done or about to be done by the employee in good faith: •
Employees who believe they have been discharged or discriminated against in violation of the Act may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor no later than 180 days after the date on which such violation occurs. Further details can be found on the Department of Labor’s website:
Providing information to a supervisor or a federal, state, or local body about any conduct that the employee reasonably believes to be a violation of a federal law, rule or regulations, or information relating fraud or misuse of grant funds;
Refusing to violate any federal law, rule or regulations relating to safety or security;
Filing a complaint in connection with these protections;
Cooperating with an investigation by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS), or the National Transit Safety Board (NTSB);
Furnishing information to certain enforcement agencies relating to an accident or incident resulting in injury or death;
Reporting a hazardous safety or security condition;
Amalgamated Transit Union AFL-CIO/CLC 5025 Wisconsin Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20016 202.537.1645 www.atu.org
Know Your Rights ‘WHISTLEBLOWING’