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Region 7 News Release: 14-615-KAN
April 23, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen     Rhonda Burke
Phone:       312-353-6976
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov     burke.rhonda@dol.gov

Union Pacific Railroad ordered to reinstate injured employee, pay more than
$85,000 in damages after OSHA found illegal retaliation

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Union Pacific Railroad has been ordered to reinstate an injured employee and pay the worker more than $85,000 in damages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA found that the company, based in Omaha, Neb., was in violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for terminating an employee following the reporting of a workplace injury that occurred at the company's North Platte, Neb., terminal.

Union Pacific has been ordered to pay $10,000 in compensatory and $75,000 in punitive damages, as well as reasonable attorney's fees. The company must also remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record and provide whistleblower rights information* to its employees. Back wages were not sought.

"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."

OSHA's investigation upheld the employee's allegation that the railroad terminated his employment in retaliation for reporting an injury and for reporting that a company chair was allegedly defective. The employee