Today's News / Compliance

A pattern of whistleblower retaliations among railway companies?

August 29, 2011
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

Railway companies and whistleblowersRetaliation by the Union Pacific Railroad Company against whistleblowing employees who complained about safety issues is the latest in a series of similar cases involving U.S. railway companies, according to OSHA records.

 After three separate OSHA investigations determined that Union Pacific fired and suspended workers for reporting workplace safety concerns and a work-related injury, the company been ordered to pay more than $615,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, back wages and attorney fees to the three employees. OSHA found the company guilty of similar violations in 2010 and 2011.

 "Union Pacific Railroad has created a climate of fear instead of a climate of safety," said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.”

One conductor was terminated and a second suspended without pay after making complaints to the company’s hotline about safety concerns fall and trip hazards, missing and obstructed roadway signs, and various right-of-way issues, rough spots on the track and for noting that a supervisor violated safety procedures during a field test. A locomotive engineer was terminated after reporting a workplace injury in August 2009.

The Omaha-based railroad operates in 23 states and employs more than 40,000 workers.

In another railway-whistleblower case, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company was ordered by OSHA on August 18, 2011 to pay more than $300,000 in back wages, damages and attorney fees to an employee who was suspended without pay after notifying the company of a work-related injury. Although BNSF manager followed the employee to the hospital and received an injury report, the company later accused the employee of failing to furnish adequate information about the injury.

ISHN.com reported on August 11, 2001 that a whistleblower retaliation case involving the Norfolk Southern Railway company uncovered a pattern of intimidating workers from reporting job-related injuries, allowing the company to maintain the appearance an exemplary safety record (http://www.ishn.com/articles/91534-osha-alleges-railway-company-maintained-safety-record-through-chilling-employee-intimidation).

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to ISHN.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Scenes from the World of Safety

Sights, signs & symbols from the National Safety Congress & Expo held in San Diego, CA, September 15-18

11/4/14 2:00 pm EST

Eye Injuries: You rarely see them coming. Practical Solutions for reducing injuries to the eye.

The 3M Eye Injury Reduction webinar will provide an examination of how to help solve eye injuries in the workplace. This issue continues to challenge virtually every industry, and the solution is often times multifaceted. 3M will share some new tools and approaches to help you in solving this issue.

ISHN Magazine

ISHN JAN 2015 COVER

2015 January

Check out ISHN's first issue of 2015, which features articles about hearing protection as well as the State of the EHS Nation 2015 Survey.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

THE ISHN STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\ISHN\safetyfourth.jpg
Safety Engineering, 4th Edition

A practical, solutions-driven reference, Safety Engineering, 4th edition, has been completely revised and updated to reflect many of today’s issues in safety.

More Products

For Distributors Only - January 2015

FDO JAN 2015 COVER

 

For Distributors Only is ISHN's niche brand standard-sized magazine supplement aimed at an audience of 2,000 U.S. distributors that sell safety products. Circulation only goes to distributors. 

CHECK OUT THE JANUARY 2015 ISSUE OF FDO HERE

STAY CONNECTED

Facebook logo Twitter YouTubeLinkedIn Google + icon

ishn infographics

2012 US workplace deathsCheck out ISHN's new Infographic page! Learn more about worker safety through these interactive images. CLICK HERE to view the page.