Missouri-based RCL Wiring LP, which operates as Idaho & Sedalia Transportation Company, harassed and terminated a signal shop technician in retaliation for reporting a work-related injury in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigators determined.
OSHA has ordered the company to give the employee his job back and pay more than $332,469 in back wages and damages, as well as reasonable attorney’s fees.
Investigators determined the Sedalia-based transportation company disciplined the five-year employee after he reported injuries sustained Feb. 1, 2014.
After the technician asked the company for reimbursement of medical co-payments, Idaho & Sedalia required him to submit a second injury report, and then threatened to discipline him for filing it late. Without a thorough investigation, the company terminated him on June 12, 2014, for allegedly making harassing and threatening statements.
OSHA ordered Idaho & Sedalia to reinstate the technician and pay him $154,749 in back wages, plus interest minus applicable employment deductions, as well as $177,720 in punitive and compensatory damages and reasonable attorney’s fees.
The company also must remove disciplinary information from the employee’s personnel record and provide information about whistleblower rights to its employees. Prior to this incident, the employee had never been disciplined.
“It is disheartening that this employee was ultimately terminated because he exercised his rights and reported a work-related injury. Even more egregious is that, without a thorough investigation, the company accused a loyal employee of making harassing and threatening statements to other workers,” said Marcia Drumm, OSHA’s regional administrator in Kansas City.
Author Kori Shafer-Stack, Editor, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in post-injury response procedures and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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