The Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co. has been ordered to pay more than $244,000 in back wages, punitive damages and attorney’s fees to a conductor who was wrongly terminated in 2012. After their investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that the company had violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act.
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According to the investigation, the railroad company asked the conductor to perform a roll-by inspection of a train on a dark and foggy morning in December 2012. The train was stopped on a bridge with a steep incline to the river, and visibility was poor. On those grounds, the conductor refused to do the inspection because it was unsafe.
The company conducted an investigation the following February, and the employee was found guilty of violating the company's policy to “inspect passing trains when duties and terrain permit”, and was terminated.
OSHA guidelines specifically protect any worker who reports hazardous working conditions or refuses to complete dangerous tasks. OSHA investigated the case and upheld the worker’s allegation that he was fired in retaliation for refusing to work in unsafe conditions.
I Was Wrongfully Terminated. What Are My Legal Options?
The Grand Trunk Western Railroad Co. was ordered to pay the man $99,324 in back wages and benefits, $45,000 in compensatory fees and $100,000 in punitive damages and reasonable attorney’s fees. The conductor was also reinstated to his position.
All employees have the right to refuse to perform work that they reasonably believe is unsafe or unhealthful without fear of retaliation. If your company is treating you unfairly, call Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC and speak with one of our experienced workers comp attorneys. We know the law and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys