Home Transit News Passenger Rail NJ Transit workers are abusing family leave time, agency audit says

NJ Transit workers are abusing family leave time, agency audit says

By Claude Brodesser-Akner

Photo: Larry Higgs | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — The U.S. Department of Labor is investigating NJ Transit for widespread abuse of the federal Family Medical Leave Act, NJ Advance Media has learned.

Alleged abuses by rail and bus operations employees have resulted in “delays and cancellations of service due to unavailability of rail crews, bus operations and light rail operators,” “higher costs” from overtime paid to their replacements and compromised safety due to “delay in making mechanical and signal repairs,” according to an an internal audit conducted in May and obtained by NJ Advance Media.

The audit found a history of NJ Transit employees who “call-out to use FMLA time just before their shift is scheduled to begin, or even it has begun.” The practice has left managers with “gaps in operational coverage” that incur additional overtime costs for NJ Transit, according to the audit.

Additionally, a memo written a month later to NJ Transit’s executive director Steve Santoro by former chief compliance officer Todd Barretta warned that NJ Transit’s deficiencies are not just related to FMLA compliance, but rather represented “an overall poor corporate culture that permeates and plagues our organization.”

“It’s an agency out of control and it needs to be turned around, immediately,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex, co-chair of a joint legislative oversight committee that has been investigating NJ Transit since a derailment at New York’s Penn Station last April.

Read more of the original article

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