OSHA Orders Union Pacific to Reinstate Injured Employee

The agency ordered the railroad company to reinstate the employee after finding the company at fault for illegal retaliation.

OSHA has ordered Union Pacific Railroad to reinstate an injured employee after an investigation found the company had violated by the Federal Railroad Safety Act's whistleblower provisions by terminating a worker after he reported an injury that occurred at work, OSHA reported. The company has also been ordered to pay $85,000 in damages to the employee.

OSHA completed an investigation that found the railroad fired the employee after the employee reported both an injury and that a company chair was allegedly defective. The employee suffered an injury to his back when the chair he was using collapsed. He then went on to report his injury, citing that the condition of the chair contributed to it. After reporting his injury, the railroad removed him of service and accused the employee of violating the company’s workplace violence policy and other rules.

OSHA has ordered the company to pay $10,000 in compensatory and $75,000 in punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees.

"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."

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