Norfolk Southern Forced To Pay Two Whistleblowers $932,000

Norfolk Southern workplace injuries suedCHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor has found Norfolk Southern Railway Co. violated federal whistleblower protections in the dismissals of 2 employees who reported workplace injuries. The Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered the company to pay the workers more than $932,000 in damages.

An assistant secretary of labor, David Michaels, said Tuesday that "railroad workers must be able to report work-related injuries without fear of retaliation."

The investigation found "reasonable cause to believe" that the employees' decisions to report their workplace injuries led to internal investigations and dismissals from the company.

The two workers were a utility switchman based in Decatur, Ill., and a trackman in Melvindale, Mich.

Norfolk Southern spokesman Robin Chapman says the company will appeal the decision to an administrative law judge.


Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now



Looking for a job? Click here to get started.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

17 Comments

Filter by:
lance35hello

I understand GATX , major ralicar leasing giant , had some whistleblowing problems which, included age-discriminations , mental abuse and wrongful terminations , in some cases .... Sweeping under the carpet was the chosen resolution by GATX and CEO Brian Kenney' team in Chicago ... To stand up .... It was a risk .... but, one I would take again ... and , again ..... I believe Albert Einstein said .... " The world is a dangerous place to live in ... not because of the people who do evil but, for the people who sit by and let it happen ... "

August 30 2012 at 3:57 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
billv0164

firing whistleblowers is ILLEGAL. N.S. got EXACTLY what they deserved.

August 29 2012 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
red44411

How good can an article be when the photo accompanying the article is of a locomotive from another railroad? How difficult would it have been for the AP to get a stock photo of a Norfolk Southern locomotive? The AP couldn't find its ass with both hands.

August 29 2012 at 6:41 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to red44411's comment
sumvette

?? How in the world would anyone other than an astute railroad buff like yourself know the train in that photo is something other than a N.S. locomotive?

Congrats to you for your knowledge, but the rest of us would never know.

August 29 2012 at 9:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sumvette's comment
Dans AOL

Easy first a norfolk southern engine is black, second they have in big white letters on the nose N S and last there is a horse emblem on the train., don't you ever watch tv and see the norfolk southern adds?

August 30 2012 at 4:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
pdgrovebaskets

Here's the perfect example of why people often don't call police. Folks, I know everyone in the country condemns Joe Paterno for not calling the police instead of just telling his superiors about what he heard about the boys but you'd be shocked to know just HOW many places in this so-called great country of ours WOULD have fired someone over doing just that. I had a boss for 15 years that was psychotic about everyone knowing she was in charge. You never saw such a "boot licker" in your life for *******-up to those over her. Had someone telehponed the police instead of going through her the woman would have been WILD! She treats even to this day her employees like little school children even though they are very intelligent people, many with college degrees. This nut case is still there at the job even though I had to finally get out. She was a major contribution to stress ruining my health. My own mother says the same thing about her job. She's in nursing at a nursing home and she has incidents every month which should be reported. But she saw the hard way that often it can blow up in your face. She encouraged a nurse to report a case of abuse. The abuser was kept, given a better job (who by the way was black) and the girl who reported it (white by the way) was fired. Administration was TERRIFIED of a lawsuit. I guarantee you there are thousands of places of employment still out there here in the 21st century where someone reporting a problem is punished, not rewarded. No, there are MANY places where you don't call the police in on your own. Let's live in reality people. If you have a job where you feel you could report things to the police making the business look bad and your bosses would support you and not fire you, count yourself VERY lucky because it doesn't happen everywhere. I get sickened every time Penn State blames Coach Paterno for everything. After all, HE never touched a child and yet because he's in the grave, it's easy to make him the scapegoat because he can't fight back. In my opinion they murdered Paterno, drove him to his grave and you the public helped them. Personally, I think the entire administration should be gone at this school instead of Joe Paterno. The decisions they're making now are ludricious. They have even stopped playing a song because it has the words touching and feeling in it. Things like this are saying Penn State fans have no intelligence and are unable to seperate the two issues. I'm glad Norfolk and Southern have to pay these two but if they're back at work they're make their lives hell at their jobs. Best thing is they move on.

August 29 2012 at 6:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to pdgrovebaskets's comment
sumvette

You're right, sometimes there is hell to pay when doing the right thing. But that's why we have whistleblower laws, to try to turn around those attitudes of acceptance and silence. It also takes some courage from individuals. You don't create change without some risk. You're right about how the world is, but you're wrong about just accepting it. Duck your head between your legs if you want to, but don't criticize those who have some guts and want to do the right thing.

August 29 2012 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sumvette

And, really, you're stretching it to use this situation to excuse Joe Paterno. I agree he took the brunt of the blame due to his fame, but he deserved the blame that he got. Considering his level and the nature of the crime, there's just no excuse for not following through. Fear of retribution from a "fearless leader"? I think not!

August 29 2012 at 9:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Doug

A very poor, incomplete article.

August 29 2012 at 4:20 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rcyrilj

More quality AOL / Huff Post journalism. The article is about the Norfolk Southern Railway so they show a picture of a Union Pacific locomotive. I guess the effort needed of spending 3 minutes downloading a photo of a NS locomotive exceeds the capabilities of the news staff.

August 29 2012 at 4:16 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to rcyrilj's comment
pdgrovebaskets

I don't think you understand that all of the engines ARE owned by the one railroad company. They just never repainted all othe engine and railcars from all the railroads they took over. Didn't it ever occur to you why you might see engines and cars from 5 different railroads all on the same train? What difference does it make anyway, it's the story that's important, not the picture of the engine.

August 29 2012 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pdgrovebaskets's comment
Dans AOL

It's a GATX lease engine , and motive power has been leased between railroads for years,. as for railcars lets say you got a shipment originating in Fla going to Tacoma,WA. , and lets say it's loaded on a FEC car, now Florida East Coast only goes so far , then the load has to go on lets say Norfolk Southern do you think they are going to unload and reload railcars? no it's going to just get switched to another railroad that is why you will see cars from numorus railroads and numorus leasing companies , and private cars too.

August 30 2012 at 4:52 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Dans AOL

Looked like an old Milwaukee Road engine with the brown under the side window of cab, either that or its one of those lease engines that I've been seeing on the old Memphis And Charleston Railway ( later Southern Railway) running between Chattanoga TN and Huntsville, Al

August 30 2012 at 4:38 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
lobo2309

Oh, well...when I saw the headline "forced to pay whistleblowers" I thought it meant the engineers going throught crossings, and then I thought, Wow, I would do that for free if I got to run the locomotive!
umm, never mind...

August 29 2012 at 4:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
robteck

I'm not surprised. NS has been accused of this behavior for years, along with being # 1 in safety in the RR industry of the USA.

August 29 2012 at 3:00 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
peteswarr

What a poorly written article. What was the injury and how did it happen? Was it self inflicted? Was itjust plain clumsey? Was it not real? (happened at home, but reported at work) Was it something that they could have avoided or was it something that NS processes caused? There are no answers or facts in the article except for that something happened somewhere to something, even though the case has been to trial.

August 29 2012 at 2:15 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to peteswarr's comment
pdgrovebaskets

None of that is important, the issue in the story is that the railroad does not want to take responsibility for their poor safety record and also any injuries. If you're able to report safety hazards at your job consider yourself lucky, in many places you would be fired. Why do you think a federal law had to be made protecting whistleblowers? It used to be 99% of the time you would be fired for reporting things, JUST like Joe Paterno at Penn State. Now does it make more sense WHY he didn't call the police himself?

August 29 2012 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Nov 9 - Nov 16
View All

Picks From the Web