The notion of the big railroads violating the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s whistleblower provisions is sadly not new.
In the latest case to make headlines OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has ordered Union Pacific Railroad to reinstate in his job an injured employee after an investigation found the company violated by the Federal Railroad Safety Act’s whistleblower provisions by terminating a worker after he reported an injury that occurred at work, OSHA has reported. The railroad has also been ordered to pay $85,000 in damages to the employee.
The reinstatement came after OSHA completed an investigation that found the railroad fired the employee after the employee reported both an injury and that a chair owned by the company was allegedly defective.
According to a report in Occupational Health and Safety, the employee suffered an injured back when the chair he was using collapsed under him. He reported his injury, saying the condition of the chair led to it. The FELA legislation protects employees who report injuries but the big railroads don’t always see it this way. After reporting his injury, the railroad removed the employee from his job and accused him of violating the company’s workplace violence policy and other rules.
I was please to read that OSHA has ordered the company to pay $10,000 in compensatory and $75,000 in punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.
The employee in this case took the correct course of action in hiring an experienced FELA railroad workers’ injury lawyer.
“An employer does not have the right to retaliate against employees who report work-related injuries and safety concerns,” said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Kansas City. “Whistleblower protections play an important role in keeping workplaces safe. Workers should never be forced to choose between safe work practices and keeping their job.”
If you have been hurt on the railroad and have a case for compensation for your injuries or have been the subject of a whistleblower action, call our experienced railroad worker injury lawyers at 757.455.0077.