Ex-employee claims Norfolk Southern fired him for reporting onsite substance use


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A former employee of Norfolk Southern Railway is suing the company for $2.5 million, claiming he was illegally fired for complaining about co-workers he witnessed using alcohol and drugs while on the job.

Scott McCarty began working at Norfolk Southern as a trackman and machine operator in 2012. McCarty says he noticed the “fraternity culture” of his co-workers early on.

Court documents state McCarty spoke with multiple supervisors throughout his four years with the company regarding safety concerns with co-workers’ substance abuse.

McCarty claims his co-workers would drive work vehicles, operate railroad machinery, and discharge firearms all while under the influence at the work site.

He says in the court documents that there were internal investigations conducted after some of his complaints, but none of them resulted in any action regarding the alcohol and drug abuse he witnessed.

Because of his complaints, McCarty says he was “targeted for harassment” by other employees. He claims his tools and equipment were vandalized, the air was let out of the tires of his vehicle, the storage tank for the camp car bathroom was emptied under his camp car and more.

When McCarty applied for a supervisor position with Norfolk Southern in 2016, he says his supervisor at the time told him he would be required to sign a release waiving any legal claim he had against the company if he accepted the position, and then they would terminate him because of his ongoing complaints.

McCarty withdrew his name from consideration after fearing the retaliation from the company, but was later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and situational anxiety disorder and was disqualified from work in early June of 2016, according to court documents.

While he was on leave, McCarty says Norfolk Southern issued disciplinary charges against him, which led to his termination, for “failing to protect his assignment” and for posting to his Facebook page about his concerns with alcohol and drug abuse on the job.

McCarty seeks “injunctive relief in the form of reinstatement” and “monetary relief in the form of damages.”

10 On Your Side has reached out to Norfolk Southern for a comment on the lawsuit.

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