Union Pacific Lawsuit

The lawyer who last month filed one of the first lawsuits in a case like this in Texas said this practice is another example of how the railroads keep the pressure on train crews to remain on call 24-7 while making them afraid to take unpaid time off they’re supposed to get under the Family Medical Leave Act.

Now that the Texas case is moving forward in the courts, the lawyer, Nick Thompson, said he plans to look into the claims of several other UP employees who have contacted him with similar concerns that could turn into additional lawsuits.

Hm potential class action suit?

“Ultimately, this has the effect Union Pacific wants: It scares people from using FMLA,” Thompson said.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific says it didn’t do anything wrong when it fired De’Ron Rutledge because railroad managers believed he was abusing the medical leave rules by repeatedly taking time off as he was recovering from a back injury he suffered on the job.

This whole situation might be less of a problem if employees had paid sick time, but the railroads have only started to address that concern in recent months through agreements giving some of their unions four days of paid sick time. But so far, most of the conductors and all of the engineers who work in locomotives — representing more than half of all rail workers — still don’t have sick time. And those train crews have the most-demanding, unpredictable schedules.

“I just don’t think it’s reasonable to have people on call 24-7, 365 days a year, including holidays and give them no sick days," Thompson said.

JCS:“WIMPS!” “Shareholder Value!”

It would seem the congressional imposed railroad labor settlement was tilted toward management’s favor. I’m SHOCKED!


Abuse of medical leave is an age old problem–not just for railroads. Some take it as time off. And have no reserves for major illness. Some accumulate it and get paid for it when they retire. Still other fake disability for disability income.

It comes as no surprise that employers try to catch the worst cases. Crockadile tears for those caught cheating get no sympathy from me.

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Accumulating sick time has pretty much been eliminated at a lot of corporations these days - like pensions were. Now it’s all PTO to be used annually at your discretion.

Part of that is to remove the need for the reserves required to fund it later (helps the company).
Part is to remove the need to explain the reasons the leave is required (protects employee privacy more easily).

The changeover from accumulating to annual is usually accompanied by an increase in the number of days available, thus pacifying the healthy workers who never use it.

It’s a cold, cruel world when you work in a big corporation.


I can not discuss it because the moment I do I have to represent the company.

Just say I like big companies far better than small mom and pops. The big companies are held to account more often. The small companies you get some crackpot who really is outdated and angry deciding things in petty ways.