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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

UP to appeal OSHA ruling in whistleblower-complaint case


The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced yesterday that Union Pacific Railroad violated the Federal Railroad Safety Act at the railroad's North Platte, Neb., yard by disciplining employees who reported workplace injuries and sought medical attention.

OSHA investigators determined UP disciplined a 35-year employee, a locomotive engineer, who reported injuries sustained in a Dec. 22, 2013, collision and received medical attention. The company has been ordered to pay the engineer $350,000 in punitive and compensatory damages, as well as attorneys fees.

The company also must remove disciplinary information from the employee's personnel records and inform all employees about whistleblower rights, OSHA officials said in a press release.

In an emailed statement, UP spokesman Aaron Hunt said the company "strongly disagrees with OSHA's findings in this case," and plans to appeal.

The case was the third time since 2011 that UP violated the safety act by disciplining employees at the North Platte yard, OSHA officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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