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NJ Transit violated whistleblower law, OSHA says


Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that New Jersey Transit violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) when it retaliated against an employee for reporting a work-related illness.

According to the findings of an OSHA whistleblower investigation, NJ Transit in February 2008 brought an employee up on charges for missing work after suffering a work-related illness associated with witnessing a fatal accident involving another worker. They also retaliated against the worker by cutting his pay and then suspending him, said U.S. Department of Labor officials in a prepared statement. The employee filed a whistleblower complaint, which OSHA investigated.

OSHA has ordered NJ Transit to take corrective actions, including expunging disciplinary actions taken against the employee and references to them from his record,and compensating the worker for back pay, lost benefit payments, interest, compensatory damagers and attorneys’ fees, totaling nearly $500,000. OSHA also ordered NJ Transit to pay the employee $75,000 in punitive damages.

In addition, the agency must post and provide its employees with information on their FRSA whistleblower rights.

NJ Transit now has 30 days to appeal the ruling.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/8/2010