Litigation over train engineer’s termination

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2018 | business torts

Multiple jobs in California and other areas of the country require employers to make split-second decisions. In some cases, the worker is torn between potentially preventing a serious incident or causing damage to company property in an attempt to avoid an incident. A man in another state is now turning to litigation after he claims he was wrongfully terminated after he avoided a potentially serious accident.

The man began working for BNSF Railway Company, the defendant in the lawsuit, in 2002 and remained with BNSF until he was terminated in Aug. 2015. The month before his termination, he claims he was controlling a locomotive as he attempted to move several freight cars between yards. Unfortunately, he explains that when he applied an independent brake, nothing happened.

Because he knew that tanks filled with hazardous material were at the bottom of the yard, he says he was forced to make a decision to avoid an accident. He claims he threw the train in reverse, avoiding an accident but damaging the locomotive. His actions were sparked by concerns that an accident would have caused a significant explosion. However, he argues that he was terminated the next month because he failed to “safely operate a train.” He further states that he later learned that there had been issues with the locomotive’s maintenance that had only been given “band-aid fixes.”

People in California and across the country want to be treated according to their performance at work. In many situations, an attempt to avoid a major incident would be rewarded rather punished. If a worker feels he or she is a victim of wrongful termination, litigation may be the best option to correct the injustice.

Source:, “Ex-BNSF engineer raises safety concerns, claims wrongful termination“, Natalie Swaby, Jan. 25, 2018