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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF, union settle dispute over employee medical privacy


BNSF Railway Co. and the Brotherhood of Maintenance-of-Way Employes Division (BMWED) have settled a longtime legal dispute over medical leave of absence and return-to-work policies.

Under the settlement, BNSF will change its policies so that an employee's medical details required for return-to-work purposes will be restricted to information related to the reason the medical leave was granted, according to a press release issued by the union.

Prior to the agreement, BNSF required employees to complete a detailed form, describing medical information about illnesses or injuries, including those unrelated to a work absence; a blanket release of all medical records; and a list of all prescribed medications, including those unrelated to the work absence, BMWED officials said.

The union and the railroad have been involved in litigation over those requirements for the past seven years, union officials said.

"We are happy with this resolution and its assurances to our members and their private health information," said BMWED President Freddie Simpson. "Our members have a right to private health information staying private and this amended policy helps maintain that right." 

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