The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has been fined and ordered to pay an employee’s legal fees for violating her whistleblower rights under the Federal Railroad Safety Act. As reported today in the Jersey City Independent, the employee fell and injured herself after a chair she sat on broke. The employee alleged that when she reported the injury, the Port Authority said she’d caused the accident herself. She then filed a whistleblower complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), alleging that the Port Authority had disciplined her for reporting her injury. OSHA’s investigation found the employee’s claim to have merit.
Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York, stated that “[r]ailroad employees have the legal right to report work-related injuries . . . . Railroads that retaliate against employees for exercising their rights will be held accountable.”
Employees in New Jersey have the right to be free from employer retaliation for their good-faith acts of whistleblowing. Numerous state and federal laws provide the basis for these rights. If you are a NJ employee who is considering whether or not to blow the whistle, or has already blown the whistle, it is imperative that you discuss your legal options with a knowledgeable, experienced employment attorney.