Is Safety a High Priority for NJ Transit?

Photo of Train Derailment Hauling Corn

New Jersey Transit is the third largest transportation agency in the country, so when something goes wrong, it’s a big deal. For the past few years, NJ Transit has been neck-deep in scandals, lawsuits and safety violations. Now a former member of the agency’s compliance staff is speaking out, and what he has to say isn’t flattering.

Does NJ Transit Have Compliance Issues?

A new federal whistleblower lawsuit has been filed by the former compliance chief who was let go in August of 2016. The lawsuit alleges that the transit agency violated OSHA regulations, covered up safety violations and retaliated after an employee lodged complaints. The former chief believes that such actions led to his termination at NJ Transit, and that the agency filed lawsuits afterward to intimidate him.

The lawsuit says that officials at the agency continually told the compliance chief to not put safety problems in writing and that if he did, he should mark them as “confidential” or “privileged.” This would prevent these safety complaints from being exposed by the Open Public Records Act. The suit further claims that eventually, the compliance chief was demoted and suspended before being fired due to complaints he lodged about various violations.

Not long after his dismissal, a commuter train crashed in the Hoboken terminal, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others. This resulted in the former compliance chief being called to give testimony to the legislature, but the former chief’s lawsuit claims that NJ Transit filed lawsuits against him to discredit potentially scandalous testimony.

If these accusations prove true, it could give a major black eye to NJ Transit, as the agency is already in legal battles with the victims of the Hoboken crash. These accusations could also lead to OSHA intervening and issuing punitive fines. As your New Jersey railroad accident attorneys, we are keeping a close eye on how this situation unfolds, so keep checking back with our blog.

From the New Jersey civil trial attorneys at Keefe Law Firm—protecting the rights of the people of New Jersey.

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