Employed as: Locomotive Engineer, for 30+ years
Posted: 06 February 2020
Everyone take note:
Federal court orders BNSF to pay worker $696,173 for lost wages after
U.S. Department of Labor finds railroad retaliated against
(Source: U.S. Department of Labor press release, February 5, 2020)
DENVER, Colo. — The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
has ordered Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) to pay
$696,173 in lost back and future wages to a former employee who
reported track defects, bringing the total paid to the whistleblower to
more than $1.74 million.
Previously, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and
Health Administration(OSHA) determined that the employer violated the
whistleblower protection provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act
(FRSA) when it retaliated against the former employee in Denver,
Colorado. OSHA issued a preliminary order with the appropriate relief
provided by the statute, which was appealed to the U.S. District Court
for the District of Colorado.
On February 19, 2019, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Colorado ordered BNSF to pay the employee $800,000 in
emotional distress, and an additional $250,000 in punitive damages.
“Railroad employers and owners must comply with the Federal Railway
Safety Act, enacted to protect railroad workers who report hazardous
safety or security conditions,” said OSHA Acting Regional Administrator
Rita Lucero, in Denver, Colorado.
OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the whistleblower
provisions of more These statutes protect employees from retaliation
for reporting violations of various workplace safety and health,
airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental,
financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle
safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad,
maritime and securities laws; and for engaging in other related
protected activities. For more information on whistleblower
protections, visit OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Programs webpage.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are
responsible for providing safe and healthful l workplaces for their
employees. OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions for
America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards,
and providing training, education, and assistance. For more
information, visit https://www.osha.gov.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and
develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of
the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities
for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
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