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Amtrak employee wins whistleblower retaliation case

Florida residents may be interested to learn about a workplace discrimination case involving an Amtrak whistleblower. In early January, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a statement confirming that a longtime Amtrak employee had been awarded $892,551 in damages after he was fired for raising safety concerns. OSHA also ordered Amtrak to reinstate the employee to his former position or to an equivalent one.

The Amtrak employee became a whistleblower in 2010 after he found out that an Amtrak contractor had a criminal record. The contractor was convicted for fraud related to the examination and testing of concrete at New York City-area building projects. Because the same contractor had tested some Amtrak tunnels, the Amtrak employee decided to alert his employer about his safety and security concerns.

The Amtrak employee was given his first negative performance review just one month after he voiced his concerns about the contractor. Several months later, he was laid off from his position. When the Amtrak employee applied for other jobs at Amtrak, he was told that he was unqualified despite holding the relevant qualifications. He was then terminated from Amtrak. OSHA determined that the employee's termination was a violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

Employees who determine that there are safety concerns at their workplace have the right to inform the appropriate authorities about their concerns without risk of retaliation. However, many employees who have been unlawfully fired for doing so find that they need experienced whistleblower legal assistance in order to assert their employment rights.

Source: CT Post, "OSHA: Amtrak whistleblower gets job back, $892K settlement," Jim Shay, Jan. 20, 2017

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