49 CFR § 240.307 - Revocation of certification.

§ 240.307 Revocation of certification.

(a) Except as provided for in § 240.119(e), a railroad that certifies or recertifies a person as a qualified locomotive engineer and, during the period that certification is valid, acquires reliable information regarding violation(s) of § 240.117(e) or § 240.119(c) shall revoke the person's engineer certificate.

(b) Pending a revocation determination under this section, the railroad shall:

(1) Upon receipt of reliable information regarding violation(s) of § 240.117(e) or § 240.119(c), immediately suspend the person's certificate;

(2) Prior to or upon suspending the person's certificate, provide notice of the reason for the suspension, the pending revocation, and an opportunity for a hearing before a presiding officer other than the investigating officer. The notice may initially be given either orally or in writing. If given orally, it must be confirmed in writing and the written confirmation must be made promptly. Written confirmation which conforms to the notification provisions of an applicable collective bargaining agreement shall be deemed to satisfy the written confirmation requirements of this section. In the absence of an applicable collective bargaining agreement provision, the written confirmation must be made within 96 hours.

(3) Convene the hearing within the deadline prescribed by either paragraph (c)(1) of this section or the applicable collective bargaining agreement as permitted under paragraph (d) of this section;

(4) No later than the convening of the hearing and notwithstanding the terms of an applicable collective bargaining agreement, the railroad convening the hearing shall provide the person with a copy of the written information and list of witnesses the railroad will present at the hearing. If requested, a recess to the start of the hearing will be granted if that information is not provided until just prior to the convening of the hearing. If the information was provided through statements of an employee of the convening railroad, the railroad will make that employee available for examination during the hearing required by paragraph (b)(3) of this section. Examination may be telephonic where it is impractical to provide the witness at the hearing;

(5) Determine, on the record of the hearing, whether the person no longer meets the certification requirements of this part stating explicitly the basis for the conclusion reached;

(6) When appropriate, impose the pertinent period of revocation provided for in § 240.117 or § 240.119; and

(7) Retain the record of the hearing for 3 years after the date the decision is rendered.

(c) Except as provided for in paragraphs (d), (f), (i) and (j) of this section, a hearing required by this section shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedures:

(1) The hearing shall be convened within 10 days of the date the certificate is suspended unless the locomotive engineer requests or consents to delay in the start of the hearing.

(2) The hearing shall be conducted by a presiding officer, who can be any proficient person authorized by the railroad other than the investigating officer.

(3) The presiding officer will exercise the powers necessary to regulate the conduct of the hearing for the purpose of achieving a prompt and fair determination of all material issues in controversy.

(4) The presiding officer shall convene and preside over the hearing.

(5) Testimony by witnesses at the hearing shall be recorded verbatim.

(6) All relevant and probative evidence shall be received unless the presiding officer determines the evidence to be unduly repetitive or so extensive and lacking in relevancy that its admission would impair the prompt, orderly, and fair resolution of the proceeding.

(7) The presiding officer may:

(i) Adopt any needed procedures for the submission of evidence in written form;

(ii) Examine witnesses at the hearing;

(iii) Convene, recess, adjourn or otherwise regulate the course of the hearing; and

(iv) Take any other action authorized by or consistent with the provisions of this part and permitted by law that may expedite the hearing or aid in the disposition of the proceeding.

(8) Parties may appear and be heard on their own behalf or through designated representatives. Parties may offer relevant evidence including testimony and may conduct such examination of witnesses as may be required for a full disclosure of the relevant facts.

(9) The record in the proceeding shall be closed at the conclusion of the hearing unless the presiding officer allows additional time for the submission of information. In such instances, the record shall be left open for such time as the presiding officer grants for that purpose.

(10) No later than 10 days after the close of the record, a railroad official, other than the investigating officer, shall prepare and sign a written decision in the proceeding.

(11) The decision shall:

(i) Contain the findings of fact as well as the basis therefor, concerning all material issues of fact presented on the record and citations to all applicable railroad rules and practices;

(ii) State whether the railroad official found that a revocable event occurred and the applicable period of revocation with a citation to § 240.117 or § 240.119; and

(iii) Be served on the employee and the employee's representative, if any, with the railroad to retain proof of that service.

(12) The railroad shall have the burden of proving that the locomotive engineer's conduct was not in compliance with the applicable railroad operating rule or practice or part 219 of this chapter.

(d) A hearing required by this section which is conducted in a manner that conforms procedurally to the applicable collective bargaining agreement shall be deemed to satisfy the procedural requirements of this section.

(e) A hearing required under this section may be consolidated with any disciplinary or other hearing arising from the same facts, but in all instances a railroad official, other than the investigating officer, shall make separate findings as to the revocation required under this section.

(f) A person may waive the right to the hearing provided under this section. That waiver shall:

(1) Be made in writing;

(2) Reflect the fact that the person has knowledge and understanding of these rights and voluntarily surrenders them; and

(3) Be signed by the person making the waiver.

(g) A railroad that has relied on the certification by another railroad under the provisions of § 240.227 or § 240.229, shall revoke its certification if, during the period that certification is valid, the railroad acquires information that convinces it that another railroad has revoked its certification in accordance with the provisions of this section. The requirement to provide a hearing under this section is satisfied when any single railroad holds a hearing and no additional hearing is required prior to a revocation by more than one railroad arising from the same facts.

(h) The period of certificate suspension prior to the commencement of a hearing required under this section shall be credited towards satisfying any applicable revocation period imposed in accordance with the provisions of § 240.117.

(i) A railroad:

(1) Shall not revoke the person's certification as provided for in paragraph (a) of this section if sufficient evidence exists to establish that an intervening cause prevented or materially impaired the locomotive engineer's ability to comply with the railroad operating rule or practice that constitutes a violation under § 240.117(e)(1) through (5); or

(2) May decide not to revoke the person's certification as provided for in paragraph (a) of this section if sufficient evidence exists to establish that the violation of § 240.117(e)(1) through (5) was of a minimal nature and had no direct or potential effect on rail safety.

(j) The railroad shall place the relevant information in the records maintained in compliance with § 240.309 for Class I (including the National Railroad Passenger Corporation) and Class II railroads, and § 240.215 for Class III railroads if sufficient evidence meeting the criteria provided in paragraph (i) of this section, becomes available either:

(1) Prior to a railroad's action to suspend the certificate as provided for in paragraph (b)(1) of this section; or

(2) Prior to the convening of the hearing provided for in this section.

(k) Provided that the railroad makes a good faith determination after a reasonable inquiry that the course of conduct provided for in paragraph (i) of this section is appropriate, the railroad which does not suspend a locomotive engineer's certification, as provided for in paragraph (a) of this section, is not in violation of paragraph (a) of this section.

[58 FR 19004, Apr. 9, 1993, as amended at 60 FR 53137, Oct. 12, 1995; 64 FR 60994, Nov. 8, 1999; 74 FR 68185, Dec. 23, 2009; 85 FR 81316, Dec. 15, 2020]

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