In these trying times, we have a bit of good health care news to share. TCU, in conjunction with the other unions at BNSF, brought suit against BNSF contending its medical leave of absence and return to work policies violated your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. And today we are pleased to announce we have reached a settlement agreement with BNSF which protects your rights.
Specifically, BNSF used to require that when you were on a Medical Leave of Absence for any reason, you could not return without filling out a long form which required you and your doctor to provide medical information about illnesses or injuries beyond the specific reason you missed work. For example, the old forms required you to authorize a blanket release of all of your medical records and required you and your doctor to list all medications you were taking, even those that were unrelated to the need for leave.
While justice is slow, TCU has doggedly pursued this action for seven years, including filing claims with the EEOC and in the federal courts, and now we have reached a settlement agreement with BNSF in which they have agreed to restrict the information you need to provide upon your return to work from a medical leave of absence to only the specific information which relates to the reason you were off of work and only as necessary to determine fitness for duty. Moreover, they have limited the reasons for which you would need to fill out the long form to one of the specific conditions listed. If you are out on a medical leave of absence for any other reason, you now simply fill out the short form verifying you can return to work without restrictions.
Linked below are copies of the new policies which BNSF will be implementing. Your health and safety at work are vital and TCU recognizes that your privacy is equally important. We are pleased we were able to reach this resolution with BNSF to protect your private health care information.
Click here to view or download policies and the form.