An OSHA investigation has found that Union Pacific Railroad retaliated against three employees for reporting safety issues and injuries. Now the railroad will have to pay a price.
Union Pacific has been ordered to pay more than $615,000 to three employees who were terminated or suspended:
- $400,000 in punitive damages
- $90,315 in compensatory damages
- $34,900 in attorney fees, and
- more than $90,000 in back wages.
A conductor based in Kansas City, MO, was terminated in September 2010 after making several complaints to Union Pacific’s hotline about safety concerns, such as trip-and-fall hazards, missing and obstructed signs, and for noting a supervisor violated safety procedures during a field test.
A second conductor also based in Kansas City was suspended without pay from his job for five days in November 2010 after making several complaints to the company’s hotline regarding rough spots on tracks.
A locomotive engineer based in Tucson, AZ, was terminated after reporting a workplace injury in August 2009.
This latest order follows two others issued by OSHA to Union Pacific in 2010 and 2011, which found the company had retaliated against other workers for reporting injuries.