NEW ORLEANS – An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found that CSX Transportation violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act and demonstrated a pattern of retaliation after firing a worker in December 2019 for reporting safety concerns. OSHA ordered the company to pay $71,976 in back wages, interest, and damages, and $150,000 in punitive damages.
“CSX Transportation’s actions are unacceptable,” said 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.”
This investigation is the latest example of CSX retaliating against workers for reporting safety concerns. In October 2020, OSHA ordered CSX to reinstate an employee who reported an unsafe customer gate and an on-the-job injury and 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 2016 and 2010.
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, CSX Transportation Inc. is one of the nation’s leading transportation suppliers. The company provides rail-based transportation services including traditional rail service, intermodal containers and trailers, and operates on about 20,000 route miles of track in 23 states.
OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower provisions of 25 whistleblower statutes protecting employees from retaliation for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health, airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities and tax laws, and for engaging in other related protected activities. For more information on whistleblower protections, visit OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.
Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release the names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.