OSHA fines Norfolk Southern for firing three workers after they reported workplace injuries
Federal safety regulators ordered Norfolk Southern Railway Co. to pay two Pittsburgh workers and one Chicago worker $1.1 million for firing them after they reported workplace injuries, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on Thursday.
The railroad violated whistle-blower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act in all three instances and repeatedly violated the act in the past two years, the agency said in a statement.
“The Labor Department's responsibility is to protect all employees, including those in the railroad industry, from retaliation for exercising these basic worker rights,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of Labor for occupational safety and health. “Railroad workers must be able to report work-related injuries without fear of retaliation.”
Dave Pidgeon, the company's spokesman in Pennsylvania, said the order “disappointed and surprised” Norfolk Southern because the railroad and the three employees were still in mediation proceedings attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.
The order comes out of a one-sided process in which the railroad was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses, but the company will appeal the decision to an administrative law judge.
“This will have the effect of voiding the decision and starting over under normal legal proceedings,” Pidgeon said.
Norfolk Southern Railway is a subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Corp. in Norfolk.
OSHA said the railroad management fired all three workers under a claim that they made “false statements” about their injuries.
In the Pittsburgh case, the workers initially declined treatment for injuries from a motor vehicle accident involving their work truck but subsequently sought treatment. The company fired them for filing “false and conflicting” reports about the extent of their injuries, the agency said.
OSHA ordered the railroad to pay the workers $683,508 in compensatory and punitive damages and pay their attorney fees.
In the Chicago case, the agency told the company to pay an injured worker $437,591.70 in damages.
The agency declined to identify the workers. The company has 30 days to appeal the orders.
Brian Bowling is a staff writerfor Trib Total media. He canbe reached at 412-325-4301or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- NFL coaches weigh in on Polamalu’s legacy
- Penguins’ Letang leaves hospital, ‘day-to-day’ with concussion
- Alvarez latest in Pirates’ revolving door at first base
- Pennsylvania’s DEP chief seeking gas pipeline strategy
- Ice Miners clinch 2nd place, home-ice advantage
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of union retirees’ pensions
- From sticks to pucks, Mt. Pleasant collector wields power of the Pens
- Outdoor notices: March 30, 2015
- Starkey: Next frontier for Steelers offense
- Pitt’s Amara offers Vision of hope
- Despite high gas costs, Northeast resistant to pipelines