OSHA: CSX employee fired for reporting safety concerns; Company must pay nearly $222K in damages and back wages

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — An investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that CSX Transportation has demonstrated a pattern of retaliation after firing an employee in 2019 for reporting safety concerns.

OSHA documents report that in December 2019, the employee reported an unsafe customer gate and an on-the-job injury. Following the report, the employee was issued a charge letter and subjected to an investigative hearing that eventually led to their termination.

This is a breach of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, which protects whistleblowers from retaliation if they report workplace violations. The company has been ordered to pay almost $72,000 in back wages, interest, and damages — plus $150,000 in punitive damages.

“CSX Transportation’s actions are unacceptable,” explained OSHA Regional Administrator Eric Harbin in Dallas. “Federal law protects employees who report hazards in the nation’s transportation sector and OSHA is committed to enforcing these rights to keep workers safe.”

OSHA also reports that this investigation is only the latest example of CSX retaliating against workers for reporting safety concerns. In October 2020, CSX was ordered to reinstate another employee who was also fired for reporting an unsafe customer gate and an on-the-job injury, plus pay more than $95,000 in back wages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

Similar whistleblower investigations resulted in reinstatements and payment of back wages and damages in the New York region in 2010 and 2016.

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