Vernace v. Port Authority

Employers cannot retaliate or discriminate against an employee who has filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the Federal Rail Safety Act of 1982 (FRSA). Laura Vernace filed a complaint with OSHA alleging that the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), her employer, retaliated against her by intimidating and threatening her after she filed an injury report. FRSA prohibits discrimination, which includes threatening discipline, against any employee who files an injury report. The Administrative Law Judge held, and the Administrative Review Board affirmed, that PATH did discriminate against Vernace by threatening disciplinary action as a result of her filing an injury report, and such discrimination violated FRSA.

Vernace v. Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, 2010-FRS-018, Admin. Review Bd.’s Decision and Order (Dep’t of Labor Dec. 21, 2012); Federal Rail Safety Act, 39 U.S.C.A. § 20109 (2012).
See also Katz, “FRSA Whistleblower Provision Protects Against Threats, ARB Holds,” Marshall, & Banks, LLP, Corporate Whistleblower Blog (March 18, 2013) available at http://www.corporatewhistleblower.net/?p=1285; James L. Curtis and Craig B. Simonsen, “Environmental Safety Update, OSHA Administrative Review Board Finds Railroad Whistleblower Violation,” Seyfarth Shaw, LLP (January 21, 2013) available at http://www.environmentalsafetyupdate.com/whistleblower/osha-administrative-review-board-finds-railroad-whistleblower-violation/.

(Development Authored by Samantha Aster)

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