Norfolk Southern Railway Co. has been ordered by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to pay $1,121,099 to three workers after finding that the company violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act.
Two investigations found that three employees were wrongfully fired for reporting workplace injuries. In addition to monetary remedies, the company has been ordered to erase the disciplinary records of the three workers, post a sign regarding employees’ whistleblower protection rights, and train workers regarding these rights.
Secretary of Labor stated, “The Labor Department continues to find serious whistleblower violations at Norfolk Southern, and we will be steadfast in our defense of a worker’s right to a safe job – including his or her right to report injuries. When workers can’t report safety concerns on the job without fear of retaliation, worker safety and health suffer, which costs working families and businesses alike.”
One investigation involved a crane operator who reported an eye injury that he sustained while operating a crane, in which he needed to have a sliver of metal and rust ring from his eye removed. OSHA’s investigation determined that he would not have been terminated had he not reported the injury. OSHA ordered the agency to pay him a total of $437,591.70 in damages, as well as reinstate him to the proper seniority level with the vacation and sick days he would have accumulated.
The two other workers terminated were injured when a car struck the work vehicle they were riding in, which required them to seek medical attention for shoulder pain, stiffness and soreness. OSHA’s investigation found that they were terminated for reporting their injuries. OSHA ordered the employer to pay them $683,508 in damages
Pulgini & Norton, LLP attorneys have handled workers’ compensation claims for over 25 years in and around Boston and its surrounding areas. If you or a family member has been injured at work and would like to seek legal assistance, please contact us at (781) 843-2200 or (888) 344-2046 or email us.
Norfolk Southern Railway Co. ordered by US Labor Department’s OSHA to pay $1.1 million after terminating 3 workers for reporting injuries: Investigation found violations of Federal Railroad Safety Act whistleblower provision, OSHA.gov, February 28, 2013