BNSF and Rail Labor Settle Dispute Over Employee Medical Privacy

Published: Mar 27 2020 10:06AM

BNSF Railway will change its medical leave of absence and return-to-work policies following a lawsuit filed by several rail labor unions, including the BMWED.

BNSF formerly required an employee to complete a detailed form, describing medical information about illnesses or injuries (including those unrelated to your absence from work), required a “blanket release” of all medical records and insisted a list of all medications currently prescribed (again including medication not related to the work absence) prior to reinstatement from medical leave.

After seven years of pending litigation, BNSF and rail unions have settled the dispute. The railroad company will now restrict the medical details needed to return to work to only the specific information relating to the reason medical absence and only as necessary to determine fitness for duty.

Your health and safety at work are vital and your rail labor unions recognize that your medical privacy is also important and worthy of protection. The BMWED is pleased we were able to reach this resolution with BNSF to protect your private health care information.

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