Important developments in the Federal Rail Safety Act just keep coming. Here are a couple.
OSHA has issued another punitive damages award against Metro North Railroad, this time for harassing an injured employee by interfering with his medical treatment and recovery. The Finding in Cortese v. Metro North Railroad is especially notable because it recognizes that (a)(4) gives OSHA jurisdiction to remedy a (c)(1) interference with medical treatment. In other words, interference with an injured worker’s medical treatment is just another form of discriminatory adverse action that can be remedied under (a)(4). So Cortese is a sign OSHA has found a way to finesse any questions regarding the direct enforceability of (c)(1). From now on, any violations of (c)(1) can be remedied under the aegis of (a)(4). Here is the full text of OSHA’s Finding in Cortese v. Metro North Railroad.
Here is a quote from OSHA’s Press Release:
“Metro-North has exhibited an unacceptable pattern of penalizing workers who report injuries, interfering with their medical treatment and forcing them to work in violation of medical instruction,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. “The whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act were designed to prevent such behavior toward workers. We will continue to order corrective action whenever we identify this type of discrimination and intimidation.”
Also, for an interview regarding the significance of the “million dollar message” sent by the first FRSA punitive damages jury verdict, go to Virginia and North Carolina personal injury attorney Richard Shapiro’s blog at InjuryBoard.