Last week OSHA announced a major anti-discrimination case involving retaliation against workers for reporting injuries. The case involved rail employees at the Metro North Commuter Railroad. The case was brought under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Federal Rail Safety Act. See OSHA News Release.
According to the OSHA press release, the employees, who sustained on-the-job injuries in 2007 and 2008, filed whistleblower complaints with OSHA alleging that the railroad disciplined them for reporting their injuries, interfered with their medical treatment plans and/or reclassified injuries from occupational to non-occupational.
OSHA ordered the railroad to take corrective actions including expunging disciplinary actions and references to them from various records; compensating the workers for lost wages or out-of-pocket medical expenses and attorneys’ fees; amending its attendance policy so that work-related sick leave not be considered when assessing unsatisfactory attendance or transfer or promotion requests; ensuring that reporting occupational illnesses or injuries does not disqualify employees from transfers or promotions; and paying each complainant $75,000 in punitive damages or a total of $300,000.