THE Union Pacific Railroad (UP) must pay US$350,000 in punitive damages and legal fees to a locomotive engineer who allegedly was disciplined for reporting workplace injuries and seeking medical attention, according to federal regulators.
But UP spokesman Aaron Hunt: "Union Pacific strongly disagrees with OSHA's [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] findings in this case. We will appeal."
This came after the OSHA ruling that said it was the third time since 2011 that the railroad had violated whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act at its yard in North Platte, Nebraska, according a press release from the federal regulator.
The regulator said the Omaha-based railway had retaliated against the 35-year employee after he reported injuries sustained in a December 2013 collision and received medical attention.
The company has been ordered to remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel record and provide information about whistleblower rights to all its employees, reported American Shipper.
Said OSHA spokeswoman Marcia Drumm: "It is disheartening that this employee faced disciplinary action because he sought needed medical attention for a work-related injury. Union Pacific's actions are indicative of a culture that doesn't show concern for safety.
"Whistleblower protections play an important role in keeping workplaces safe. It is not only illegal to discipline an employee for reporting an injury and seeking medical attention, it puts everyone at risk," Ms Drumm said.
Source : HKSG.