Review Board Decision: Worker can't be fired for reporting an injury

News Item From: Products Finishing

Posted on: 1/31/2013

Employee was injured when a chair she sat on broke, causing her to fall. When she reported the injury, the railroad charged her with having caused the accident by failing to "inspect the chair" before sitting in it.

The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board has upheld OSHA's finding that the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation of New York and New Jersey violated the rights of an employee when it disciplined the worker for exercising her rights under the Federal Railroad Safety Act.
 
The employee was injured when a chair she sat on broke, causing her to fall. When she reported the injury, the railroad charged her with having caused the accident by failing to "inspect the chair" before sitting in it. The worker then filed a complaint with OSHA, which found in 2010 that the company had violated the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA.
 
 
OSHA ordered PATH to pay $1,000 in punitive damages and to take corrective actions, which included expunging disciplinary actions and references to them from various records as well as compensating the worker for attorneys' fees.

 

PATH filed an appeal before DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, which upheld OSHA's findings in the case. PATH then filed another appeal before the Administrative Review Board. The ARB’s December 2012 decision upheld the OALJ decision



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