I Was Fired After My Accident. What Are My Rights?

A Norfolk Southern Railway Co. employee who reported an injury he suffered in a work-related accident was subsequently fired by his employer. The railroad carrier’s internal investigation concluded that the injured crane operator had made false statements concerning his eye injury.  However, an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that he would not have been fired if he had not reported his injury. OSHA then ordered Norfolk Southern Railway Co. to pay the worker a total of $437,591.70 in damages.

Under the Federal Railroad Safety Act, it is not lawful for a railroad carrier or its employee to discharge, suspend or in any way discriminate against an employee for notifying the railroad carrier of a work-related injury or illness in good faith.

If you have been fired or otherwise discriminated against for reporting an injury, you have the right to file a complaint with OSHA. You should make sure to file your complaint no later than 180 days after the violation of federal law, after which it is barred by the statute of limitations.

If OSHA finds in your favor, the following remedies may be available:

  • Reinstatement to your previous job and/or position
  • Back pay plus interest
  • Compensatory damages, such as legal costs
  • In some cases, punitive damages, up to a maximum of $250,000

If you have been discriminated against by your employer following a workplace injury, you should discuss your rights with an experienced Minnesota railroad law attorney.

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