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GREENSBORO, N.C. – Norfolk Southern Railway has been ordered by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to pay a former employee who was terminated after he reported an on-the-job injury in 2009.

The former railroad worker, who was initially injured in Jamestown, NC while removing a spike from a rail line, was awarded compensatory damages including pain and suffering; reasonable attorney’s fees; and $75,000 in punitive damages for the company’s reckless disregard of the individual’s rights under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). reports:

The OSHA report said the worker did not report the initial injury “fearing loss of employment”.  In October, they said the worker saw a doctor at the advice of management after reinjuring himself.

After returning to work, the report said the worker was suspended and later terminated for “allegedly falsifying the injury.”

At that point, the employee submitted a complaint to OSHA. OSHA determined during an investigation that the employees rights were violated under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). They also found that Norfolk Southern “successfully intimidated other employees from reporting on-the-job injuries.”

OSHA said the “chilling effect” allowed the railway to “maintain the appearance of an exemplary safety record and continue its 22-consecutive-year record as recipient of the E.H.Harriman Gold Medal Rail Safety Award.”

It is unknown at this time whether Norfolk Southern will file an appeal.

FELA Lawyer News Blog is a FELA, train accident and personal injury blog that publishes up to date train accidents and FELA legal news from across the United States. The Federal Employers ‘Liability Act, (FELA) allows injured railroad workers to recover compensation based on the negligence of the railroad company, in lieu of workers’ compensation. FELA defines negligence as the railroad company’s failure to use reasonable care.

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