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Region 7 News Release: 11-1259-KAN
Aug. 25, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen     Deanne Amaden
Phone: 312-353-4727     415-625-2630
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov     amaden.deanne@dol.gov

US Labor Department finds Union Pacific Railroad in violation of FRSA
for retaliating against Kansas City, Mo., and Tucson, Ariz., employees
Omaha, Neb.-based company ordered to pay more than $615,000 to
3 employees terminated, suspended for reporting safety issues and injuries

OMAHA, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Union Pacific Railroad Co., headquartered in Omaha, to pay a total of $400,000 in punitive damages, $90,315 in compensatory damages, $34,900 in attorney fees and more than $90,000 in back wages to three employees. Separate investigations by the Kansas City, Mo., and San Francisco, Calif., offices of the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the company violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act by terminating two employees and suspending one in retaliation for reporting workplace safety concerns and a work-related injury.

"Workers have the right to report work-related injuries and safety concerns without fear of retaliation," said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "Union Pacific Railroad has created a climate of fear instead of a climate of safety. The company must take immediate steps to change this unacceptable pattern of retaliation."

A Kansas City, Mo.-based Union Pacific Railroad conductor was terminated from employment in September 2010 after making repeated complaints to the company's hotline about safety concerns, such as fall and trip hazards, missing and obstructed roadway signs, and various right-of-way issues, and for noting that a supervisor violated safety procedures dur