OSHA: Illinois Rail Companies Must Compensate Whistleblower Employee

February 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered the Illinois Central Railroad Co. and the Chicago, Central & Pacific Railroad, both headquartered in Homewood, Ill., to pay a former railroad employee more than $80,000 in back wages, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

The employee had alleged that the railroads terminated his employment in retaliation for reporting a work-related injury he sustained while performing his job.

OSHA said officials from both railroads ordered an investigation into the cause of the employee’s injury, which ultimately resulted in their decision to terminate his employment. Evidence showed that the employee was in compliance with the railroads’ rules governing the reporting of work-related injuries and not at fault for his injury.

OSHA has ordered the railroads to pay the employee a total of $80,453 that includes $57,587 in back wages and interest, $10,000 in compensatory damages and $12,866 in attorney’s fees. The railroad carriers further were ordered to provide whistleblower rights information to their employees.

Either party in the case can file an appeal with the U.S. Labor Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Source: OSHA, http://www.osha.gov.

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