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February 12th, 2010

Railroads Must Compensate Employee Fired For Reporting Work Injury

OSHA has ordered the Illinois Central Railroad Co. and the Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad to pay a former railroad employee more than $80,000 in back wages, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.  The employee alleged that the railroads terminated his employment in retaliation for reporting a work-related injury he sustained while performing his job.  OSHA agreed.  The employee was in compliance with the railroads’ rules about reporting work-related injuries and was not at fault for his injury.

“An employer does not have the right to retaliate against its employees who report work-related injuries,” said Charles E. Adkins, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City. “While OSHA is best known for ensuring the safety and health of employees, it is also a federal government whistleblower protection agency.”

The railroads must pay the employee back wages and interest, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.  The railroad carriers further were ordered to provide whistleblower rights information to their employees.

OSHA conducted the investigation under the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA).  OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 16 other laws protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws; trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, workplace safety and health regulations; and consumer product safety laws.

A basic summary of whistleblower rights is that employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise protected concerns or provide protected information to their employer or to the government.

An injury on the railway can range from a minor sprain to a spinal injury so severe that it leads to death.  If you need help filing your claim or believe that your case is being undervalued please contact our experienced railroad injury lawyers at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P.  We understand every inch of railroad acts, regulations and laws.  We will make the law work for you.  At Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers our experience and results cannot be matched.  Call us today for your free consultation or email us at info@smslegal.com.

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