OSHA hits Metro-North over discrimination claim

Metro-North railroad car. (WTNH / Jeff Bailey)
Metro-North railroad car. (WTNH / Jeff Bailey)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Federal labor officials say Metro-North Railroad violated anti-discrimination law by disciplining seven Connecticut employees for staying home on doctors’ orders.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Tuesday that between 2011 and 2013 the commuter railroad issued written warnings to the employees when they followed physicians’ orders to stay out of work.

A spokeswoman for Metro-North did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Robert B. Hooper, OSHA’s acting regional administrator for New England, said Metro-North’s policy of making employees ignore a physician’s medical instructions or face discipline is unacceptable.

The Federal Railroad Safety Act prohibits railroad carriers from disciplining or threatening to discipline employees who follow a physician’s orders or treatment plan.

OSHA has ordered Metro-North to pay each employee $1,000 in compensation and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

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