OSHA Orders Midwest Railroad To Pay Three Railroaders $650,000 In Back Wages And Damages
On July 19, 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a news release indicating that it had ordered the Illinois and Central Railroad and the Chicago and Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad to pay over $650,000.00 to three Railroaders who were discriminated against in violation of the FRSA.
The first case involved an Illinois Central Railroad Conductor who sustained a job related injury who was subsequently fired for alleged rules violations. OSHA determined that he was terminated in reprisal for reporting the work related injury. He was awarded back wages, vacation pay, payment of his medical bills, attorney’s fees and compensatory and punitive damages.
The second case involved an Illinois Central Railroad Carman who sustained a job related injury who was fired for allegedly violating the company’s injury reporting policy. OSHA determined that the injury was properly reported and ordered the Railroad to pay him back wages, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
The third case involved a Chicago and Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad Conductor who was fired for raising safety concerns while serving as his role as local chairman for the union. The Railroad alleged that he had been fired for failing to pass an engineer certification test. OSHA ordered the Railroad to provide the Railroader with training and another opportunity to pass the test. Upon him passing the test, he was to then be reinstated. The Railroad was also ordered to pay back wages, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health indicated in the news release that “It is critically important that railroad employees in the Midwest and across the nation know that OSHA intends to defend the rights of workers who report injuries and safety concerns.” He also stated “We will use the full force of the law to make sure that workers who are retaliated against for reporting health and safety concerns are made whole.”
A copy of the OSHA news release can be found at http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/osha/OSHA20121034.htm.
A link to a Chicago Tribune news article can be found at http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-railroad-accused-of-retaliating-against-2-whistle-blowers-20120719,0,3153531.story.
By Matt Darby