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OSHA News Release
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Region 4


June 12, 2020

U.S. Department of Labor Orders Railway to Reinstate Employee
After Being Terminated For Reporting Injury

ATLANTA, GA – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. to reinstate and pay more than $150,000 in back wages after terminating an employee for reporting an on-the-job injury at its Atlanta, Georgia, facility, and also filing an alleged violation report with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). OSHA also ordered the company to pay the employee $75,000 in punitive damages, $10,000 in compensatory damages and attorney’s fees.

OSHA investigators determined Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. violated the whistleblower provision of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) when the company issued the employee a charge letter, subjected the employee to an investigative hearing and later terminated the worker.

In addition to the monetary penalties, Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. must also train managers and employees on workers protection rights under the FRSA. Norfolk Southern Railway Corp. may appeal the order to the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

“This order underscores the U.S. Department of Labor’s commitment to protect employees who report workplace injuries,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta, Georgia. “The Federal Railroad Safety Act protects employees who exercise their right to report workplace injuries and OSHA enforces those legal provisions.”

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of FRSA and 22 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, healthcare reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education, and assistance. For more information, visit https://www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release the names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.

Media Contacts:

Eric R. Lucero, 678-237-0630, lucero.eric.r@dol.gov

Release Number:  20-1180-ATL (237)


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