PAR conductor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation case

Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

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PAR conductor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation case

Postby MEC407 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:51 am

From The National Law Review:

The National Law Review wrote:Jason Raye (“Mr. Raye”) was working as a conductor for Pan Am Railways, Inc. (“Pan Am”). He reported safety concerns relating to some railroad ties to his manager, but Pan Am took no action to remedy the hazard. Three weeks later, as Mr. Raye descended from a boxcar onto those same railroad ties, he stumbled and sprained his left ankle. Pan Am charged and reprimanded Mr. Raye for violating a company rule that required Pan Am employees to be “assured of firm footing before they step down from a train.” Id. at 3. At the investigatory hearing, Mr. Raye testified that he had stumbled but not fallen when he sprained his ankle.

Following his reprimand, Mr. Raye filed a FRSA complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), alleging retaliation by Pan Am for his reporting a safety hazard and an injury.
. . .
The ALJ found that Pan Am’s charging Mr. Raye with rule violations and subjecting him to a disciplinary hearing for the second time constituted an adverse action and was motivated by Mr. Raye’s protected activity. The ALJ also found that Pan Am failed to proffer an adequate affirmative defense. Therefore, the ALJ ordered Pan Am to pay damages and attorneys’ fees.
. . .
Here, the ALJ determined that Pan Am “consciously disregarded” Mr. Raye’s rights under the FRSA and “intentionally interfered” with his asserting those rights. Id. at 7. Pan Am’s charging Mr. Raye with rule violations after he filed his FRSA complaint constituted “an egregious, blatant, and willful act of retaliation.”


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/whi ... ve-damages
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby MEC407 » Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:44 pm

From the Portland Press Herald:

Portland Press Herald wrote:A federal appeals court has upheld an award of $250,000 in punitive damages against Pan Am Railways after a lower court found that the railroad illegally retaliated against an employee for reporting a safety hazard and injury at the company’s Waterville rail yard.
. . .
The appeals court said there was “substantial evidence” to support the administrative law judge’s conclusion that Pan Am “overstated the significance of the discrepancy” in Raye’s accounts of the injury and that Pan Am appeared to have “a corporate culture more focused on retaliation than on safety.” In fact, the judge had found that 99 percent of the injuries to Pan Am employees that required a report to the railway administration led to the company filing disciplinary charges against the worker.


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/04/24/f ... -railways/
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby MEC407 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:21 am

Emphasis added:

In fact, the judge had found that 99 percent of the injuries to Pan Am employees that required a report to the railway administration led to the company filing disciplinary charges against the worker.


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You can take the boy out of Penn Central, but you can’t take Penn Central out of the boy…
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby guilfordrailfan » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:46 am

MEC407 wrote:Emphasis added:

In fact, the judge had found that 99 percent of the injuries to Pan Am employees that required a report to the railway administration led to the company filing disciplinary charges against the worker.


Well, that's one way to institute a corporate culture of safety. NOT! Dysfunction beyond belief...
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby b&m 1566 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:52 pm

Hollow heads in management lead to things like this. It’s amazing how people become brainless when money is involved.
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby BandA » Wed May 03, 2017 2:33 am

Seems pretty damning. I imagine such a corporate culture is hard to change until you have changes in leadership.
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby newpylong » Wed May 03, 2017 7:38 am

It is sad - when I was there we were scared more about being dragged into a hearing for something we did vs the actual injury.

Nevermind the lack of lighting in yards, ties laying around, other pieces of metal, being asked to recrew trains in the middle of nowhere, etc.
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby MEC407 » Sat May 06, 2017 1:02 pm

I'm curious: do MoW employees ever get hauled in to disciplinary hearings for leaving piles of (s)crap where train crews are likely to trip over them?

Not trying to pick on MoW but it seems like the obvious/logical/sensible* solution would be for this stuff to be placed far enough out of the way so that other employees don't get hurt by it.

For example, here we see a big pile of MoW detritus that looks like it was dumped pretty recently. Would it have been so onerous for them to move it two or three feet farther to the right, so that a conductor walking the train on a foggy night won't take a digger after tripping over one of those cans?

*Yes, I'm aware of which railroad I'm talking about.
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby MEC407 » Thu May 11, 2017 10:20 am

From the Portland Press Herald:

Portland Press Herald wrote:A federal appeals court has affirmed that Pan Am Railways Inc. must pay $260,000 in damages to a Maine employee who was subjected to retaliation for filing a Federal Railroad Safety Act whistleblower complaint.
. . .
According to the Labor Department, the North Billerica, Massachusetts-based commercial railroad retaliated against the employee by charging him with dishonesty in connection with his complaint. The department does not release the names of workers involved in whistleblower complaints.

The Labor Department ordered the railroad to take corrective actions and pay the employee $10,000 in compensatory damages and $40,000 in punitive damages. Pan Am appealed the order, and in 2014 an administrative law judge upheld the agency’s finding of retaliation and increased the amount of punitive damages to $250,000.

The railroad appealed again, this time to the Labor Department’s Administrative Review Board, which affirmed the judge’s order. It then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, which denied the railroad’s petition April 21.

“This case is a strong reminder that our whistleblower laws prohibit reprisals against employees who file whistleblower complaints, report workplace injuries and illnesses, or raise awareness of hazardous safety or security conditions,” Galen Blanton, OSHA’s New England regional administrator, said in a written statement.

Pan Am still can file a motion for a panel rehearing or a rehearing by the full Circuit Court, or it can ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a motion for appeal.


Read the rest of the article at: http://www.pressherald.com/2017/05/10/c ... -railways/

Will Pan Am try their luck with The Supremes? Will the whistleblower end up with even more money? Will John and Marlena get back together? Stay tuned!
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby newpylong » Thu May 11, 2017 10:26 am

To tell you how stupid this outfit is, each time they have appealed the court has increased the punitive damages. They should have paid the guy when they were ahead. They do it out of spite, and they can't afford $250,000.
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby JoeS » Thu May 11, 2017 10:46 am

They have probably spent at least that much in legal fees. The word "stupid" in this case seems woefully inadequate.
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Re: PAR condutor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation cas

Postby leviramsey » Thu May 11, 2017 11:42 am

"Penny-wise and pound-foolish": is there a phrase that better describes Guilford?
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Re: PAR conductor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation ca

Postby BM6569 » Fri May 12, 2017 7:28 am

There are plenty of spots in the system that could use the money!
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Re: PAR conductor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation ca

Postby toolmaker » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:44 am

How much of the $250k will actually reach the employee? From my experience settling my father's estate after legal fees, his estate received 10%.
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Re: PAR conductor awarded $250K in damages in retaliation ca

Postby DogBert » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:52 pm

Depends on the lawyer. I'd bet the client will be getting a lot more than 10%.
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