OSHA recently announced that it ordered Norfolk Southern Railway (Company) to pay three former workers a combined $1,121,099 for violating the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA), which protects employees who report violations of any federal law, rule or regulation relating to railroad safety or security.
After conducting investigations in Chicago and Pittsburgh, OSHA found that the individuals were discharged for reporting workplace injuries. In addition to monetary remedies–which ranged from compensatory and punitive damages to backpay and benefits to attorneys’ fees–OSHA ordered the company to expunge disciplinary records, post a notice regarding whistleblower protections under the law, and train workers on their rights. OSHA also ordered reinstatement in at least one instance.
The Company made a statement expressing its disagreement with OSHA’s determination and plans to appeal it.