It’s getting hard to keep track of the number of times Norfolk Southern has been found to be in violation of the whistleblower protection provisions of the FRSA but it’s happened again. On August 8, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a news release indicating that it had ordered Norfolk Southern Railway Company to pay a Railroader more than $300,000.00 in damages, including $200,000.00 in punitive damages.
The Railroader suffered an on-the-job head injury that he reported to the Railroad. He was subsequently charged with falsifying that injury and fired. The news report indicated that “OSHA found that the railroad’s investigative hearing was severely flawed and orchestrated to intentionally support management’s decision to terminate the employee.” No real surprise there.
Cindy A. Coe, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta, was quoted as saying “Railroad workers throughout this country have the right to report an injury without fear of retaliation” and “The Department of Labor will continue to protect all employees, including those in the railroad industry, from retaliation for exercising these basic worker rights, and employers found in violation will be held accountable.”
OSHA’s press release can be found here.
By Matt Darby