Safety and OSHA News

OSHA orders company to pay $300K to whistleblower

A company must pay $300,000 to an employee that OSHA says was terminated after reporting a work-related injury.

OSHA says Union Pacific Railroad must reinstate the employee plus pay back wages, compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.

The employee filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA alleging suspension without pay and then termination 23 days after notifying the company of an on-the-job injury.

OSHA says it found that the disciplinary charges and termination weren’t because the employee broke a work rule, rather they were because the employee reported an injury.

The railroad has also been ordered to refrain from retaliating against the employee for exercising rights guaranteed under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA).

Union Pacific was found to have violated the FRSA in four similar cases since 2009.

“This case sends a clear message that OSHA will not tolerate retaliation against workers for reporting a work-related injury,” said OSHA administrator David Michaels.

Union Pacific Spokesman Mark Davis says the company intends to appeal. Davis says a separate government review under the Railway Labor Act found the company acted appropriately.

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