According to a recent report from FairWarning, an investigative news website, the railroad industry is the harshest on whistleblowers in the United States, with more incidents of corporate whistleblower retaliation than other industry.
Over the course of eight years, railroads were at the center of more than 2,000 whistleblower retaliation complaints issued to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The most complaints were related to BNSF and Union Pacific, which had 409 and 360 complaints, respectively, between October 2007 and June 2015.
In fact, railroads actually accounted for seven of the top 10 complaint subjects on OSHA’s list of whistleblower reports. Other railroads on the list were CSX (267 complaints), Norfolk Southern (247), Canadian National (151), Amtrak (119) and Metro-North (102). The two non-railroad corporations making the list were AT&T (103) and UPS (139). Taking the top spot was a federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service, which had a total of 578 complaints.
This report highlights even more problems in the railroad industry, which has been plagued by major crashes and a great deal of public concern over railroad safety particularly in the past several years. Amtrak and Metro-North have both been the subject of scrutiny after a couple of the deadliest rail accidents in decades. Unfortunately, these numbers suggest that would-be whistleblowers in this industry get punished for attempting to shed light on serious issues they discover — and many of these issues could ostensibly cause serious accidents.
For more information and further guidance on the rights of whistleblowers contact Steve Kardell a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.