“The Federal Railroad Safety Act expressly forbids railroad companies from disciplining employees for reporting injuries and illnesses, and for following a physician’s treatment plan,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator Dean Ikeda in Seattle.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Union Pacific Railroad Co. in Eugene, Ore., to pay back wages, and compensatory and punitive damages to an employee who was fired after reporting a work-related injury. OSHA found that the railroad fired the individual in violation of the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act .
Even after a neutral arbitrator found in the employee’s favor and ordered the railroad to reinstate the employee within 30 days of its ruling, the railroad delayed reinstatement for months. During OSHA’s investigation, the railroad refused to provide documents, including logs of injuries sustained by employees, claiming they were irrelevant.
In addition to ordering the payment of back wages and damages, OSHA has ordered Union Pacific Railroad Co. to expunge the employee’s personnel records of the termination and to post a notice to employees about the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA. OSHA’s findings and order become the final order of the secretary of labor unless they are appealed within 30 days.