OSHA has come down hard on Metro North Railroad (which provides daily rail service between New York City and points in Connecticut) with a proposed $300,000 punitive damages following whistleblower investigations that found the railroad retaliated against four workers for reporting injuries on the job, according to the agency.
OSHA conducted the whistleblower investigations last year after the four workers complained Metro North disciplined them for reporting their injuries, interfered with their medical treatment plans, or reclassified their injuries from occupational to non-occupational.
"Railroad employees have the right to report occupational injuries and illnesses without fear that doing so will negatively affect their jobs, their health or their income," Jordan Barab, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, said in a statement announcing OSHA’s action.
Under OSHA’s order, Metro North must compensate the workers for lost wages, out-of-pocket medical expense, and attorneys' fees, in addition to paying each worker $75,000 in punitive damages. The company must also amend its attendance policy to ensure that reporting occupational illnesses or injuries does not disqualify employees from transfers or promotions.
Metro North was given a 30-day period to file an appeal to OSHA’s order.