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 (OSHA) determined that the company violated the whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FSRA) 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."