The purpose of whistleblower suits is so that safety issues can be reported by employees without such workers having to be concerned about losing their pay. Sadly, companies sometimes would prefer workers keep quiet rather than put the company in a bad light - even if this means workers will be forced to perform more dangerous tasks at the risk of injury or even death.
Two railroad workers in the Chicago area were terminated from their jobs for reporting workplace injuries that occurred at an area railroad. A conductor was injured when a knuckle connecting railroad cars together had broken, and this resulted in the conductor being knocked to the ground. Another railroad worker slipped on an icy platform in a yard with poor lighting.
In the first circumstance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) required the railroad company pay back the terminated worker $267,707 for back wages and medical expenses, $75,000 in compensatory damages, and $100,000 in punitive damages. In the second circumstance, the railroad was demanded to reinstate the worker and pay him $154,694 for back wages and other damages.
Attorneys will work with injured workers and family members to make sure that such workers are not exposed to unnecessary dangers. Such attorneys will also make certain that such workers are compensated for their injuries.
For railroads in particular, one can see why safety is of such a great concern. Working on railroads has historically been considered a one of the more dangerous places to work, and indifference of employers to worker safety will only exasperate the problem.
Source: Chicago Tribune, "U.S. rules against Illinois Central railway in whistle-blower injury cases," by Jon Hilkevitch, July 20, 2012