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Your Railroad Might Use Injury History to Determine Who Gets Promoted

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  • Your Railroad Might Use Injury History to Determine Who Gets Promoted

    An OSHA investigation determined that Metro North Railroad was actually using a worker's history of reporting injuries as a factor in whether or not he received a job promotion. Not only is this practice just plain wrong, it violates the Federal Rail Safety Act (FRSA).

    Fortunately, the worker received justice in a $125,000 punitive damage award. This was the largest punitive damage award levied by OSHA against a railroad under the FRSA.

    But it makes you wonder - how many other railroads have a similar policy? We all know railroads hate it when a rail worker reports an injury since it exposes the railroad to a potential FELA claim, but to use that as a factor to deprive a worker a job promotion is just plain despicable.

    If you have heard about similar practices at other railroads, or just want to talk about the punitive damage award against Metro North, feel free to drop us a comment in this thread.
    John Cooper
    Norfolk, Virginia
    [Railroad/FELA Attorney-
    Licensed: VA, WV, and NC]

  • #2
    By going to union meeting I have heard similar stories about Amtrak and CSX, members getting turned down for transfers and other jobs. Also getting dismissed from safety programs. Please do not write up a unsafe condition that will also put you on a list to get dismissed.
    Donald F. Case, Jr.
    Richmond, VA area
    804-530-3686 rrcases@aol.com
    Legal / Investigator (Started 1987)
    Shapiro,Cooper, Lewis & Appleton, PC
    FELA Designated Counsel
    1-800-752-0042 www.hsinjurylaw.com & http://carolina.hsinjurylaw.com/
    injury retired CSX Conductor, 1971 to 1986
    Past,Treasurer, UTU Local 924
    Working with CSX, NS & Amtrak people on all types of injuries on and off the job.

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    • #3
      On my road...if you sip from the claim adjusters cup more than once you WILL have a target on your back.
      sigpic ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ "Come and get them" Leonidas I to Xerxes, at Battle of Thermopylae

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      • #4
        Not so fast

        Originally posted by Case View Post
        By going to union meeting I have heard similar stories about Amtrak and CSX, members getting turned down for transfers and other jobs. Also getting dismissed from safety programs. Please do not write up a unsafe condition that will also put you on a list to get dismissed.

        Yeah, um respectfully, I must disagree with you on this. If a worker sees something unsafe, they have the obligation to report it. (The carriers even have rules that state such!) (...and I'm sure you already know that.) If the member / worker is "uneasy" about reporting something to management or making the management aware of something, the worker / member should at very least report it to his union's Legislative Rep or L/C for further handling. The employee and or union *should* document such reports, follow up to see such condition is corrected, so if my brother comes along & gets hurt, well, it's the carrier's problem then & I know I did my part in reporting the condition /tool /procedure etc. to the carrier. This documentation also has to be a DLC's wet dream: Hey Mr. RR, the guys told you this was unsafe, here's the proof, you let it fester, & Jim Bob got hurt. How much y'all wanna settle for today?? Remember y'all, often times the carrier doesn't know (or more likely pretends not to know) about unsafe conditions & similar unless we tell them & document it. They'll damn sure claim they didn't know anything when you get hurt unless you have that documentation or can provide it for /to your hurt brother & sister.

        Besides, how are we supposed to know which "unsafe conditions put you on a list to get dismissed." I mean come on. That will vary from terminal to terminal, bossman to bossman & employee to employee.

        If the RR wants to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for reporting safety defects, hey, bring it on. There's a bunch of DLCs waiting to hammer the carriers with a title 49 harassment suit. I also know a few who would love a good discrimination case; an opportunity to rub the carrier's noses in the dirt & make 'em look bad.

        Those interested in this thread may also wish to read YardLimits.com > On Duty > The Yard Office > The good guys actually win one?! where a BNSF Hostler won a harassment suit and has similar parallels to the article mentioned above by the original poster.
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