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When is a charge of dishonesty actually defamation of character

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  • When is a charge of dishonesty actually defamation of character

    The buzz right now on the BNSF is that with every crew rules/policy violation the company officials are adding what is called a 1.6, claiming that the employee is a dishonest employee. Now most of these are dropped at investigation, but recently the managment has been sending out investigation letters with only 1.6 charges for a range of supposed infractions. My question is if you are charged as a dishonest employee and through the investigation process with the company it sticks, can you sue the manager personally in civil court for defamation of character if you have definative proof that you were not being dishonest in the said situation?

    The reason I am asking is because I know many guys that this has happened to. Once the kangaroo court (because the same person that charges you many times is also the final judge) at BNSF makes the dishonesty charge stick to your personel record you can then be fired for virtually any infraction.

  • #2
    Can You Post

    An infraction letter? You can redact the names. Or, You can send it to
    Steve Gordon
    Gordon, Elias & Seely, L.L.P.
    FELA Lawyer
    FELA Lawyer Blog
    Serving Injured Railroad Employees Nationwide
    Call for a FELA Lawyer 24/7/365


    • #3
      I will have to talk to a couple of guys and see what I can dig up.
      Maybe there are some more guys here that also know of those with such accusation/infraction letters.
      I am just trying to give us every possible option to fight these types of charges. Its one thing to fail someone for actually breaking a rule and an entirely different situation when you say that they did it on purpose or that they tried to cover it up.
      The background for my question is becuase when I worked for AT&T several years ago employees that were being intimidated through poor evaluations started sueing in civil court the managers who handed them out. Apparently AT&T would not help their managers by paying leagal fees and such, because they didn't want to get dragged into the suit themselves. Needless to say this improved the environment at least in the construction dept. that I worked in considerably.
      I know there is not much money in such individual suits, but if there enough suits to show a pattern it really could become something quite large that BNSF could actually be liable for. The orders to call employees dishonest in every investigation has to come from Ft. Worth. It just a tool of employee intimidation, that as of yet the union has no answers for.