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Company Ordered to Pay Out $615,000 after Ignoring the Federal Railroad Safety Act

Union Pacific Railroad Company has recently been ordered by the Department of Labor to pay out more than $615,000 to three of its employees. The payout is a result of an investigation that determined that the company neglected to abide by the wistleblowers protection provisions that have been set forth through the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA).

Investigations revealed that the company let go of two of its employees and suspended a third in an effort to retaliate against them for reporting work conditions that the employees felt were dangerous. One of the employees also attempted to report an injury that had occurred on the job, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
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As we recently reported on our Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, another railroad was recently ordered to pay out approximately $125,000 to an employee after denying his a promotion in the wake of a reported a work injury. The company denied the employee’s claim and proceeded to retaliate.

Our Boston Railroad Safety Act Attorneys understand that the Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) allows workers to sue railroad companies for injuries that occurred on the job and are not being covered by workers’ compensation benefits. FELA allows an employee to gain additional compensation above and beyond what is typically rewarded through workers’ compensation claims. This act was passed as Congress witnessed an alarmingly high number of worker fatalities that had occurred within the railroad industry.

“Workers have the right to report work-related injuries and safety concerns without fear of retaliation,” said Assistant Secretary for OSHA Dr. David Michaels.

The Union Pacific Railroad Company case began when the company decided to release an employee back in late 2010 after the worker had complained repeatedly to the company about various work-related safety concerns. He reported a number of right-of-way issues, obstructed road signs and trip hazards. He also turned in a supervisor that had reportedly failed to uphold a number or safety precautions. The company included the fact that the employee had a tattoo, saying that the ink on his skin was creating a hostile work environment for everyone. His tattoo recognizes his time spent in the military and was on his skin years before he started working with the company.

The second employee from that company that’s receiving some of the compensation was suspended after he made a number of complaints about bumpy spots on the railroad track.

The third employee, of the same company, was let go after he reported an injury that had occurred on the job. All of the workers are being awarded compensation for a number of damages and reimbursement fees for legal representation.

All three of these incidents occurred in 2010 and 2011. Railroad companies are required to abide by the regulations laid out by the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

If you are dealing with a railroad work injury in New England, contact the Massachusetts FELA Lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights.

More Blog Entries:

OSHA Strives to Protect Whistleblowers to Decrease Work Accidents in Massachusetts and Elsewhere, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 10, 2011

Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Here to help you through your Work Accident Claim, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 14, 2011