Pan Am Railways, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Labor, No. 16-2271 (1st Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Pan Am Railways, Inc. brought charges of dishonesty and insubordination and threats of dismissal against Jason Raye, an injured employee who had filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). Raye then filed an amended complaint to OSHA accusing Pan Am of violating the FRSA for filing his original OSHA complaint. OSHA concluded that Pan Am had unlawfully retaliated against Raye for bringing charges after Raye had filed his original OSHA complaint. An administrative law judge (ALJ) rejected Pan Am’s affirmative defense and awarded $250,000 in punitive damages, the maximum amount that the FRSA allows. The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board affirmed. The First Circuit denied Pan Am’s petition for review, holding (1) the ALJ did not err in rejecting Pan Am’s affirmative defense that it would have charged Raye with dishonesty even absent his protected activity; and (2) there was no abuse of discretion in the ALJ’s punitive damages award.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on May 16, 2017.