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Employee wins financial award in OSHA case

New York residents may have heard about an Amtrak worker who won $892,551 after being wrongfully terminated by Amtrak. The order was handed down by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 2010, the man provided information to the company's Dispute Resolution Office related to safety concerns that he had regarding a contractor's work. The following month, he received his first-ever poor performance review.

In March 2011, the company notified him that his position was being eliminated as part of a reorganization. After applying for several other positions within the company, the man was notified in June 2011 that he was being let go. Following the termination, he submitted a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, and it found that he had engaged in activities protected by the Federal Railroad Safety Act. It was also determined that his engagement in these protected activities were factors in his dismissal.

In addition to the financial award, Amtrak was to expunge any references to his termination or acts protected under the FRSA. The railroad company was also ordered to post a sign notifying employees of their rights and refrain from retaliating against the agent involved in the case. Amtrak was given 30 days to respond to the order and request a hearing if desired.

Those who are terminated after acting as a whistleblower may be entitled to compensation and reinstatement to their prior positions. Compensation may include back pay, interest and punitive damages depending on the facts of the case. An attorney may be able to help a worker establish that he or she may have been retaliated against after engaging in protected activities. In some cases, retaliation may occur after an employee takes action to support the claims of another employee.

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