Three whistle-blowers will collect more than $650,000 after two different railroads fired them following workplace accidents. OSHA concluded the three men were wrongfully accused of safety violations to divert blame for workplace hazards.
An Illinois Central Railroad conductor will receive $269,707 after he was fired for reporting a workplace accident. OSHA determined the conductor was knocked unconscious and suffered a shoulder injury when an equipment failure caused the train to lurch. It said the railroad trumped up safety violations as an excuse to fire the man.
Another Illinois Central Railroad employee who slipped while inspecting cars in an icy and dimly lit railroad yard will receive $154,694. OSHA found that the railroad wrongly fired him for failing to follow proper accident reporting procedures. In addition to the money award, the man will be reinstated to his job.
A Chicago Fort Wayne & Eastern Railroad conductor will receive $226,327. OSHA investigators determined that he was fired after complaining that he had been forced to operate a train in violation of the rules. He will be reinstated to his conductor job—and have a chance to be promoted to locomotive engineer if he can pass a certification test.
Note: OSHA and various U.S. Department of Labor entities actively protect whistle-blowers’ rights. Warn managers not to retaliate against anyone who complains that you are not following the rules that govern your industry.