Patton Boggs Insights - January 2012 - Enforcement: OSHA Whistleblower Cases


OSHA has penalized a railroad and a trucking firm for allegedly retaliating against employees over safety issues, and has sued four other firms under the whistleblower statutes the agency enforces.

Union Pacific Railroad Co. was ordered to reinstate an employee who was allegedly terminated after reporting a work-related injury. The Omaha-based railroad was also directed to pay the employee more than $300,000 in back wages and other compensation. In a news release last month, OSHA said the company had violated whistleblower protection provisions in four other cases since 2009.

Tennessee-based Heartland Transportation, Inc. was told to reinstate a driver who had been removed from the company’s driving schedule after complaining about safety defects on trucks Heartland used to deliver mail for the U.S. Postal Service. Heartland also was told to pay the employee $62,090 in damages plus more than two years of back wages and other charges.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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