PEPA Policy

This is a copy of the System General Notice No. 128 that covers the Policy Employee Performance Accountability (PEPA).  Please remember that this can change at any time by General Notice, please see your general notices for the most current information.

                              February 01, 2017
BNSF Railway Co.

                            SYSTEM GENERAL NOTICE NO. 128


SUBJECT: PEPA Information

System General Notice No. 48 is cancelled.

February 1, 2017 an updated Employee Performance Accountability Policy
(PEPA) takes effect. Pertinent changes include a reduction of discipline-
free years needed to qualify for a reduced review period and
implementation of Risk-Reduction Education.

Corporate Policy Employee Performance Accountability (PEPA)

Effective February 1, 2017

I. Scope
   This Policy applies to all employees of BNSF Railway and provides
   standards for addressing rules violations by scheduled employees.

II. Purpose
    Our vision is to realize the tremendous potential of BNSF Railway by
    providing transportation services that consistently meet our
    customers' needs. As a part of this vision, it is important that our
    employees work in a safe environment free from incidents and
    injuries, focus on continuous improvement in safety initiatives,
    share the opportunity for personal and professional growth that is
    available to all members of our diverse workforce, and take pride in
    their association with BNSF.

    Working safely and treating others with honesty and respect are core
    values at BNSF. Employees across BNSF demonstrate this daily, through
    their efforts to identify and control risk of exposure during
    peer-to-peer communications and problem solving discussions to
    complete each task safely. Rules, procedures and policies outline
    expectations, set standards, provide a basis for training, and help
    us identify and control risk. Written rules alone cannot protect us
    from accident or injury; they are merely words. Understanding and
    appropriately applying rules, procedures and policies is a part of
    BNSF Railway's proactive safety efforts.

    In some situations discipline is necessary to deter unsafe behavior.
    This policy outlines the handling of violations in a consistent
    manner, reinforcing our mutual commitment to a safe workplace and our
    individual commitment so that every one of us returns home safely at
    the end of the workday.

III. Definitions
  * Actual Suspension: A suspension that results in actual time away from
    work and loss of pay.
  * BNSF Railway:  BNSF Railway Company.
  * Record Suspension: A suspension recorded in an employee's personnel
    file, but that does not result in actual time away from work or loss
    of pay.
  * Risk-Reduction Education: An alternative to the formal discipline

IV. Policy Requirements
    A. General

       1. Violations of BNSF safety and operating rules and policies,
          including BNSF Railway's safety management system programs and
          procedures, by scheduled employees, will be addressed as
          provided in this Policy.
       2. In the event a collective bargaining agreement provides for
          discipline or alternative handling that is inconsistent with
          the provisions in this Policy, the provisions of the collective
          bargaining agreement will take precedence.
       3. As used in this Policy, a Review Period is a period of time
          that begins on the date discipline for a violation is assessed
          and lasts for the duration provided in this Policy.
          a. If an employee commits an additional violation during a
             Review Period, he or she may be subject to
             escalating/progressive discipline as provided in this
          b. Only time in service is credited toward a Review Period. If
             an employee is on leave, furlough or otherwise not in active
             status during the Review Period, such time does not count
             toward the Review Period. The Review Period will resume when
             the employee returns to active status.
       4. Where this Policy provides for the imposition of a Record
          Suspension, a supervisor has the discretion to impose an Actual
          Suspension, if warranted.
          a. For example, an employee withheld from service pending a
             formal discipline investigation can be issued an Actual
             Suspension to account for the time served while withheld.
       5. A supervisor must consult with a Director of Employee
          Performance prior to issuing a dismissal, an Actual Suspension
          greater than 30 days, or discipline that deviates from this
       6. Except as otherwise provided in Section IV.C.1.d. and Section
          IV.0.1.h., craft-specific attendance requirements are governed
          by departmental requirements and are not governed by this

    B. Standard Violations
       1. A Standard Violation is a violation of a rule or procedure
          a. Does not subject an employee or others to potentially
             serious injury or fatality; and
          b. Does not otherwise meet the criteria for a Serious Violation
             or a Stand-Alone Dismissible Violation.
       2. An employee who commits an initial Standard Violation will
          receive a formal reprimand with a Review Period of 12 months.
       3. If an employee commits additional Standard Violations within a
          Review Period, he or she will receive discipline as provided
          a. A second Standard Violation will result in a Record
             Suspension of 10 days.
          b. A third Standard Violation will result in a Record
             Suspension of 20 days.
          c. A fourth Standard Violation will result in a Record
             Suspension of 30 days.
          d. A fifth Standard Violation (or five violations of any kind,
             including violations of departmental attendance guidelines)
             committed in the 12-month Review Period may result in

    C. Serious Violations (Level S)
       1. Serious Violations include, but are not limited to:
          a. A violation of any work rule or procedure that is intended
             to protect employees, the public and others from a
             potentially serious injury or fatality. Many of these rules
             and procedures are identified in departmental publications,
             including but not limited to, Telecom's Safety Essentials,
             Engineering's Critical Decisions, Mechanical's Safety
             Absolutes, Intermodal's Safety Fundamentals, and TY&E's
             Deadly Decisions.
          b. A violation for which FRA decertification is mandated by
             Federal Regulation. If applicable, the violation is also
             considered a Serious Violation for the ground crew.
          c. A violation of the Use of Alcohol and Drugs Policy, except
             as provided in Section IV.D.1.d. of this Policy.
          d. An unauthorized absence (AWOL).
          e. Tampering with safety devices.
          f. A violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity, Anti-
             Discrimination and Harassment Policy.
          g. A failure to timely report a DWI conviction when required to
             do so by rule or company policy.
          h. Late reporting of an accident or injury. However, an
             employee will not be disciplined for reporting a muscular-
             skeletal injury after the prescribed time period, provided:
             (i) the injury is reported within 72 hours of the probable
                 triggering event,
             (ii) the employee notifies the supervisor before seeking
                  medical attention, and
             (iii) the medical attention verified that the injury was
                   most likely linked to the event specified.
       2. An employee who commits an initial Serious Violation will
          receive a 30-day Record Suspension with a Review Period of 36
          a. An employee may qualify for a reduced Review Period of 12
             months for a Serious Violation if he or she:
             i. Has at least three years of service and;
             ii. Has no record of discipline in the three-year period
                 immediately preceding the Serious Violation.
          b. If an employee commits an additional Serious Violation
             within the Review Period, he or she may be subject to

    D. Stand-Alone Dismissible Violation
       1. Stand-Alone Dismissible Violations include, but are not limited
          a. Theft or any other fraudulent act that may be evidenced by
             the intent to defraud BNSF Railway or by taking of BNSF
             Railway monies or property not due.
          b. Dishonesty about any job-related subject including, but not
             limited to, falsification or misrepresentation of an injury,
             abuse of FMLA leave or other leave privileges.
          c. Conduct leading to a felony conviction. This includes a plea
             of guilty, deferred adjudication or any plea that results in
             a felony conviction where sentencing is delayed or suspended
             or the felony conviction is subsequently modified or
          d. Refusal to submit at any time to required testing for drug
             or alcohol use, adulterations of sample, second violation of
             the Use of Alcohol and Drugs Policy within 10 years, or
             failure to comply with instructions of the Medical Director.
          e. Violence in the workplace or instigation of a serious
             altercation. This includes possession of weapons and the
             threat of using weapons.
          f. Conscious or reckless indifference to personal safety or
             safety of others or the public; indifference to duty;
             intentional destruction of BNSF Railway property; malicious
             rule violations; insubordination.
          g. A rule violation that could or does result in a serious
             collision or derailment, serious injury to another employee
             or the general public, fatality, or extensive damage to BNSF
             Railway or public property.
          h. Unauthorized absence (AWOL) of five or more consecutive
          i. An aggravated violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity,
             Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy.
          j. Failure to report an accident or injury.
          k. Multiple Serious Violations committed during the same tour
             of duty.

    E. Risk-Reduction Education (RRE)
       1. Risk identification and reduction are at the foundation of BNSF
          Railway's proactive safety efforts. By identifying and
          controlling risk of exposure, BNSF Railway and its employees
          can help ensure a safe workplace, where everyone returns home
          safe at the end of each workday. RRE allows employees, their
          representatives, and their supervisors to enhance their
          understanding of risk, increase education and awareness of the
          best ways to control risk of exposure, and voluntarily solve
          problems rather than escalate to a formal discipline process.
       2. General Eligibility Requirements
          a. RRE eligibility is discretionary and will depend on the
             circumstances surrounding an incident, and any other
             relevant facts. To avoid formal discipline, an eligible
             employee must accept responsibility for the incident in
             writing, and actively participate in the RRE process.
          b. RRE will generally not be available for missed call
             violations and layoff on call violations.
          c. Employees are generally not eligible for RRE if they have:
             i. One prior RRE event in the previous 12 months
             ii. A violation (formal discipline or RRE) of a similar
                 nature in the previous 24 months
             iii. Two formal discipline events in the previous 24 months
             iv. Been approved for a RRE plan in the previous 36 months,
                 but failed to successfully complete the plan; or
             v. An active Level S violation
       3. Process
          a. The employee must request RRE and complete a Risk-Reduction
             Education acknowledgement no later than 48 hours prior to
             the initial scheduled date and time of the investigation. In
             this acknowledgement, the employee must waive his or her
             right to a formal investigation, accept responsibility for
             the rule violation, and agree to fully participate in RRE.
          b. The employee must obtain a RRE packet from a supervisor
             within 7 days of completing the Risk  Reduction Education
          c. The employee must complete the packet, and meet with his or
             her supervisor within 21 days of completing the Risk-
             Reduction Education acknowledgement. During this meeting, a
             supervisor (or his or her designee) will facilitate a
             discussion on risk identification and steps to control risk
             of exposure to safety hazards.
          d. Unless a violation qualifies for expedited handling, RRE
             should be tailored specifically for each employee and event.
          e. Some violations may qualify for expedited handling. Under
             expedited handling, the RRE process is complete when the
             employee accepts responsibility and signs the Risk-Reduction
             Education acknowledgement.
          f. The review period for RRE begins on the date the employee
             meets with a supervisor to discuss the RRE packet as
             described in Section IV.E.3.c above.
          g. The employee's meeting with the supervisor will be
             considered training, and the employee will be compensated
             for the meeting pursuant to the existing rules under the
             applicable collective bargaining agreement. Employees must
             schedule meetings to minimize service, availability and cost
             impacts to BNSF Railway.

V. Enforcement
   Failure to comply with this Policy could result in disciplinary
   action, up to and including termination of employment.

VI. Questions/Reports
    If you have any questions about this Policy or would like to report a
    possible violation of this Policy, please contact the Policy
    Sponsor or the Vice President Compliance & Audit. Reports regarding
    violations of this Policy may also be submitted anonymously by using
    the BNSF Hotline at 1-800-533-BNSF.

VII. Policy Sponsor
     Rob Karov
     Vice President Labor Relations

VIII. Related Policies and Corporate Rules
      Equal Employment Opportunity, Anti-Discrimination & Harassment
      Policy Use of Drugs and Alcohol Policy

IX. Policy History
    Effective Date:  February 1, 2017
    Last Revised:  February 1, 2017
    This Policy supersedes the Policy for Employee Performance
    Accountability, effective February 1, 2013.

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Last Updated: June 10, 2020