Under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA), railroad employees have been able to seek compensation when injured on the job. Used for civil injuries resulting from a railroad's negligence, FELA covers everything from dismemberment to carpal tunnel syndrome. In February 2000, President Clinton signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on genetic testing for federal workers. In a federal lawsuit, the first of its kind against a private company, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway agreed on February 12, 2001 to stop requiring genetic testing of employees who file a claim for carpal tunnel syndrome.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a federal lawsuit February 9, 2001 charging that genetic testing for carpal tunnel violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, raising questions from medical ethicists and legal authorities as to why the company ever considered the practice to begin with. Testing had involved railroad employees who filed claims for carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a wrist condition believed to result from repetitive hand motions. According to the National Academy of Sciences, carpal tunnel syndrome is the leading workplace hazard. Workers accused the company of using genetic testing to avoid paying millions of dollars for medical bills and disability payments to workers who have developed carpal tunnel.
Please contact a FELA attorney for more information on carpal tunnel and to learn your legal rights.
Learn more about other types of railroad injuries and dangers: