OSHA Cites Metro-North Commuter Railroad

The agency cites the company for violating the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s anti-discrimination provisions

OSHA has cited the Metro-North Commuter Railroad Co. for violating the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s anti-discrimination provisions, according to a report from OSHA. Between 2011 and 2013, the company disciplined seven Connecticut employees for following their physician’s instructions.

More specifically, OSHA completed investigations that found that between 2011 and 2013, the company gave warnings to employees in New Haven and Stamford for following their physician’s orders to stay out of work. Five of the employees were carmen, one was an electrician and one was a foreman. The employees filed complaints and OSHA found merit to the complaints. According to OSHA, “FRSA prohibits railroad carriers from disciplining or threatening to discipline employees who follow a physician’s orders or treatment plan.”

OSHA has ordered Metro-North to pay each employee $1,000 in compensatory damages as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees. The railroad must also expunge the written warnings from the employees’ records and post a workplace notice informing workers of their FRSA anti-discrimination rights.

"Metro-North's policy of making employees ignore a treating physician's medical instructions or face discipline is unacceptable," said Robert B. Hooper, OSHA's acting regional administrator for New England, in OSHA’s press release. "While Metro-North says it has since changed this policy, this type of procedure, which endangers employees and the public and is illegal under the FRSA, should not exist."

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