April 18, 2015

Pan Am Railways violated whistleblower rights

BOSTON – The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Pan Am Railways Inc. to pay $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, as well as take corrective action, on behalf of an injured worker. The North Billerica-based commercial railroad adversely charged the worker with lying when he filed a Federal Railroad Safety Act complaint with the [...]

Judge blasts UP, awards worker $310K

Chastised for its “reprehensible conduct” Union Pacific railroad has been ordered to pay nearly $310,000 to a North Platte man who was fired after a co-worker ran over his foot. A federal judge has ruled that UP, which is headquartered in Omaha, displayed “blatant disregard” for a federal whistleblower law which allows railroad workers to [...]

OSHA slams Norfolk Southern again

OSHA logo; OSHA

WASHINGTON – Norfolk Southern Railway Co. has been ordered to pay $1,121,099 to three workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which found that the company violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. Two investigations, conducted by OSHA staff in Chicago and Pittsburgh, found [...]

No defense for violating worker rights

OSHA logo; OSHA

Even when railroads return workers to their jobs with full back pay after wrongly terminating them for suffering a workplace injury, significant monetary sanctions may still be imposed by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Case in point is Norfolk Southern, which was ordered to pay damages in excess of $580,000 [...]

BNSF intimidation alleged to extend to witnesses

The UTU and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA), along with two other rail labor organizations, have filed a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), alleging BNSF has expanded its harassment and intimidation of injured workers to include the targeting of witnesses. In recent months, OSHA has imposed [...]

OSHA reiterates zero tolerance for worker retaliation

Here we go again – or should we say, again and again and again and again. This time it is Canadian National’s Illinois Central Railroad and short line Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern Railroad that have been hit with more than $650,000 in sanctions by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for [...]

FRA, OSHA to coordinate safety complaints

OSHA logo; OSHA

Following almost 1,000 complaints from rail workers that they were improperly disciplined for reporting injuries or unsafe working conditions, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have forged an alliance to bring more pressure on railroads to stop the pattern of harassment and intimidation. “The safety of railroad employees depends on [...]

NS retaliation again slapped by OSHA

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It is reasonable to wonder just how many millions of dollars in sanctions must be assessed against railroads by the federal government before they learn the lesson that employees are not the equivalent of number 2 pencils to be chewed on at will and discarded when convenient. In the most recent comeuppance applied to Norfolk [...]

OSHA elevates whistleblower priority

WASHINGTON – Whistleblower protection administered by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been elevated in agency priority, with the program now administered directly by OSHA’s assistant secretary of labor. The Department of Labor said the administrative change was an effort “to strengthen employees’ voices in the workplace.” “The ability of [...]

OSHA raps UP again for whistleblower violation

Once again, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered a railroad to reinstate an employee and pay him back wages for violating an employee’s rights as a whistleblower. In the latest OSHA order, Union Pacific was ordered immediately to reinstate an employee in Idaho and pay him back wages, compensatory [...]