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Injured employee threatened with retaliation, OSHA says

On behalf of of Frederick & Hagle posted in Workplace Injuries on Thursday, December 25, 2014.

Even though the recent recession is in the rearview mirror, many workers in Illinois are still one disaster away from financial devastation. Luckily, an injured employee can be compensated through workers’ compensation until he or she is able to return to work. However, not all employers act appropriately toward an employee who has suffered an injury while on the job, which can make seeking and receiving eligible compensation a difficult task.

Metro-North Railroad is just one example of an employer refusing to treat its injured workers with respect and dignity. An investigation concluded that the company didn’t just actively attempt to keep workers from filing accident reports, but that it also retaliated against those who filed them anyway. At least one employee was warned that reporting an injury would result in being cited for violating a safety standard. That employee was also told that any employee who reported a workplace accident would never be promoted.

These allegations were uncovered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which launched an investigation after a complaint was filed in 2012. Additionally, OSHA says that Metro-North gave the employee that complained further punishment, which may have been what warranted an amendment to his complaint in 2013. The Department of Labor ordered that the company pay fines to the tune of $260,000 for the actions that it took against its injured workers.

Suffering an injury at work is more than just an inconvenience. Some injuries require medical treatment and time off work, which could threaten the livelihood of Illinois workers. When an employer threatens to take action if a worker takes the appropriate steps toward seeking compensation that he or she is eligible for, he or she is not without options. Filing a complaint with OSHA may be just the first step toward achieving workers’ compensation, which can be invaluable for getting the life of an injured employee back on track.

Source: courant.com, “Metro-North Fined for Retaliating Against Worker Who Reported Injury“, Josh Kovner, Dec. 16, 2014

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