Claims under the Railway Labor Act must be brought within six months after their accrual, but in this case, the court holds that the limitations period was equitably tolled.  The complainant union promptly invoked the RLA’s mediation process filing a complaint with the Railway Mediation Board which then took six months to complete its pre-docketing investigation.  Only after the investigation was completed did the defendant employer for the first time state that it would not mediate the dispute.  Less than a month later, the union filed suit.  Its suit was timely though filed more than six months after the claim accrued.  The union acted reasonably in invoking the RLA’s mediation process, and permitting equitable tolling in this instance will further Congress’ goal of deterring strikes in the transportation field while encouraging the parties to settle their disputes voluntarily.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Pregerson, J.); September 14, 2016; 2016 WL 4887726