Special Topics in Safety Management

OSHA Fines Metro-North $80,500 in Whistleblowing Case

An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found Metro North Commuter Railroad liable for unlawful disciplinary charges brought against an employee who filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.

The employee, who worked in Metro-North’s New Haven, CT rail yard, had accused the railroad company of retaliating against him following his 2008 report to OSHA of a workplace injury. 

In a press release dated Jan, 5 2011, Marthe Kent, OSHA’s New England regional administrator commented that: “Taking repeated disciplinary action against an employee who exercised his legal right to report an on-the-job injury and voiced a complaint about retaliatory treatment by his employer is unconscionable. Such treatment instills a culture of silence in which hazardous conditions are masked because employees will be fearful of reporting them.”

OSHA ordered Metro-North to pay the worker $5,500 in attorney’s fees and $75,000 in punitive damages, for a total of $80,500. In addition, the railroad was instructed to provide its employees with information about their right to report on-the-job injuries.

Source: OSHA

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