When an employee is injured on the job, she or he should not feel obligated to keep the incident quiet. Any employer that projects such an environment may be held accountable if and when a workplace accident occurs, especially if the personal injury is seriously debilitating to the employee.
Not only should an injured individual be able to speak about their pain and what caused it, those employees that have safety concerns should be allowed to discuss the issues, as well.
We wrote about one such case recently. In our July 27 post, we reported about how the Illinois Central Railroad illegally retaliated against two whistle-blowing employees by firing them. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered the company to pay the two workers significant sums for injury compensation, punitive damages and back pay.
Now there's word of another such case. According to reports, the Chicago office of OSHA received complaints from employees at the Chicago, Fort Wayne, and Eastern Railroad. The whistle-blower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act allowed OSHA to conduct investigations into both matters.
In the Chicago, Fort Wayne, and Eastern Railroad case, a conductor was fired from the position while serving as a leading member of a union. That conductor had recently raised concerns about workplace safety and was allegedly released from duty because of the choice to do so.
As in the Illinois Central case, the investigation by OSHA led the agency to order the railroad company to pay the fired employee back pay and damages for employment retaliation.
Source: Business and Legal Resources, "Railroads to pay workers over whistleblowing," Aug. 22, 2012