BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Amtrak ordered to compensate fired safety whistleblower

Amtrak ordered to compensate fired safety whistleblower

Amtrak retaliated against a supervisor who raised safety concerns and has been ordered by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay the terminated employee $892,551 in back pay and other damages.

The Washington-based National Railroad Passenger Corp., better known as Amtrak, retaliated against a supervisory special agent who raised safety concerns in 2010 related to an Amtrak contractor who had been convicted of fraud in examining and testing concrete at building projects in the New York City area, OSHA said Wednesday in a statement. 

In October 2010, the agent gave Amtrak’s Dispute Resolution Office information and provided support for a fellow employee who had received a letter of reprimand after he raised safety concerns in a separate matter, according to the statement. 

The agent received his first-ever negative performance review the following month and was notified in March 2011 that his position was being eliminated, according to the statement. Despite using his law enforcement background to apply for other positions that required law enforcement training, he was notified in June 2011 by Amtrak that he would not be placed in a new position and would be terminated. 

The agent filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, which determined that the agent engaged in activities protected under the Federal Railroad Safety Act when he raised concerns about safety issues related to work conducted by the Amtrak contractor, and when he expressed his support for his fellow agent’s safety complaints. OSHA also found these protected activities contributed to his termination by Amtrak.

“In this case, an employee was terminated for pursuing and reporting safety concerns,” Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA’s acting New England regional administrator in Boston, said in a statement. “The employer’s retaliation is unacceptable and illegal. Federal law gives rail carrier employees the right to raise safety, health and security concerns with their supervisors without fear of retaliation.”

OSHA ordered Amtrak to reinstate the employee to his former or a similar position with all rights, seniority and benefits he would have received had he not been discharged. The agency also ordered Amtrak to pay the agent a total of $892,551: $723,332 in back wages plus $34,218 in interest; $100,000 in punitive damages; $35,000 in compensatory damages; plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.

OSHA also ordered Amtrak to expunge from its records all references related to his discharge and exercise of his Federal Railroad Safety Act rights, not to make adverse statements concerning his employment at Amtrak and not to retaliate or discriminate against him in any manner. The railroad service must also post a notice to all its employees notifying them of their rights under the statute. 

"Amtrak intends on absolutely appealing this matter and as such cannot comment further as it is pending litigation," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.  


Read Next