View all text of Subpart D [§ 209.301 - § 209.337]

§ 209.309 - Informal response.

(a) If the respondent elects to make an informal response to a notice of proposed disqualification, he or she shall submit to the Chief Counsel such written explanations, information, or other materials as respondent may desire in answer to the charges or in mitigation of the proposed disqualification.

(b) The respondent may include in an informal written response a request for a conference. Upon receipt of such a request, the Chief Counsel shall arrange for a conference at a time and place designated by the Chief Counsel.

(c) Written explanations, information, or materials submitted by the respondent and relevant information presented during any conference held under this section shall be considered by the Chief Counsel in reviewing the notice of proposed disqualification, including the question of the respondent's fitness and the conditions of any disqualification that may be imposed.

(d) After consideration of an informal response, including any relevant information presented at a conference, the Chief Counsel shall take one of the following actions:

(1) Dismiss all the charges and terminate the notice of proposed disqualification;

(2) Dismiss some of the charges and mitigate the proposed disqualification;

(3) Mitigate the proposed disqualification; or

(4) Sustain the charges and proposed disqualification.

(e) Should the Chief Counsel sustain, in whole or in part, the charges and proposed disqualification and reach settlement with the respondent, the Chief Counsel shall issue an appropriate disqualification order reflecting the settlement and shall provide a copy of that order to the railroad by which the respondent is employed. The duration of the disqualification period may be less than, but shall be no greater than, the period set forth in the notice. Any settlement reached shall be evidenced by a written agreement, which shall include declarations from the respondent stipulating to the charges contained in the disqualification order, consenting to the imposition of the disqualification under the conditions set forth in the disqualification order, and waiving his or her right to a hearing.

(f) If settlement of the charges against the respondent is not achieved, the Chief Counsel shall terminate settlement discussions no later than 30 days from service of the informal response upon the Chief Counsel by serving respondent written notice of termination of settlement negotiations.

(g) By electing to make an informal response to a notice of proposed disqualification, the respondent does not waive the right to a hearing. However, the respondent must submit the hearing request required by § 209.311(a) within l0 days after receipt of the notice of termination of settlement negotiations from the Chief Counsel. Failure to submit such a request constitutes a waiver of the respondent's right to appear and contest the charges or the proposed disqualification.

(h) The Chief Counsel may extend the period for requesting a hearing for good cause shown, provided the request for extension is served before the expiration of the period provided in paragraph (g) of this section.