WI Company to Pay $350,000 in Damages to Former Employee

OSHA has found Wisconsin Central Limited railway in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for improperly terminating a conductor

OSHA completed a whistleblower investigation that found Wisconsin Central Limited railway—a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway—in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for terminating a conductor after he reported a workplace injury in Manitowoc, WI, OSHA reports. OSHA has ordered the railway to pay the conductor $352,082 in back wages and damages.

According to OSHA, the conductor was within his 60-day probationary period when his injury occurred. He reported his injury later that day, but not before the end of his shift, and on his final day of probation, his employer issued him a removal-from-service letter that rejected his employment application. The company believed the employee to have “violated a company rule by failing to report an injury before his workday ended.”

"The majority of complaints received by OSHA under the Federal Railroad Safety Act involve allegations that a railroad worker has been retaliated against for reporting an on-the-job injury. No worker should feel his job is at risk for reporting an injury or seeking medical attention," said Nick Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago in a press release from OSHA. "When employees are disciplined for reporting workplace injuries, safety concerns or illnesses, worker safety and health are clearly not the company's priority."

Wisconsin Central has been ordered to reinstate the conductor, remove disciplinary action from the employee’s personnel record and pay the worker $352,082, which includes $217,082 in back wages, applicable employment taxes, $60,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

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