July 20, 2012 — Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Illinois Central Railroad will be required to pay approximately $600,000 to two railroad workers who were fired after they reported injuries on the job. Both men were injured in the Markham Railroad Yard, located outside Chicago. Both men were fired after they reported their injuries. It is an illegal violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for an employer to retaliate against people who report railroad injuries.
The first case occurred in August 2008, and involved a conductor who was knocked to the ground when a knuckle (which connects two rail cars) broke. The conductor filed an injury report. The railroad company investigated, and fired him after deciding that he had violated safety rules. OSHA investigated the case and decided that he was actually “terminated in reprisal for reporting a work-related injury.” OSHA ordered to pay him nearly $450,000 in damages — including $269,707 in back wages, vacation, medical bills, and legal fees, $100,000 in punitive damages, and $75,000 in compensation.
In the second case, which occurred in February 2008, a carman slipped on an icy platform and injured his shoulder and arm. The carman was responsible for inspecting cars in a dimly-lit part of the railyard. He reported the injury and was fired, allegedly for violating the official procedures for reporting an injury. When OSHA investigated, they found no fault with the way he reported the injury. OSHA ordered him to be paid $154,694 in damages. If he gained a medical clearance to work, OSHA also ordered the railroad to give him his job back.
Less than a month ago, OSHA ordered Norfolk Southern Railway Co. to compensate three railroad workers who were fired soon after they reported an injury. Total damages exceeded $800,000. Norfolk was also ordered to give each man a clean disciplinary record, and post notices to inform other railroad workers that they have a legal right to report injuries and file injury lawsuits.
When employers retaliate against employees for reporting injuries, the source of the injury is never investigated or fixed. Furthermore, retaliatory actions against whistleblowers can have a “chilling effect” on other employees reporting injuries. When safety problems are not addressed, more people can be seriously injured.
Do I have a Railroad Injury Lawsuit?
Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.
Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”
The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $60 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact us for a free railroad injury lawsuit review.