Conflicts between replication and transcription machineries represent a major source of genomic instability and cells have evolved strategies to prevent such conflicts. However, little is known regarding how cells cope with sudden increases of transcription while replicating. Here, we report the existence of a general mechanism for the protection of genomic integrity upon transcriptional outbursts in S phase that is mediated by Mrc1. The N-terminal phosphorylation of Mrc1 blocked replication and prevented transcription-associated recombination (TAR) and genomic instability during stress-induced gene expression in S phase. An unbiased kinome screening identified several kinases that phosphorylate Mrc1 at the N terminus upon different environmental stresses. Mrc1 function was not restricted to environmental cues but was also required when unscheduled transcription was triggered by low fitness states such as genomic instability or slow growth. Our data indicate that Mrc1 integrates multiple signals, thereby defining a general safeguard mechanism to protect genomic integrity upon transcriptional outbursts.