5/19/2014 A. H.

Belo Mail - Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway ordered by US Department of Labor’s OSHA to pay more than $526,000 to terminated workers
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Dunklin, Reese <rdunklin@dallasnews.com>
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway ordered by US Department of Labor’s OSHA to pay more than $526,000 to terminated
workers
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Rodriguez, Juan J - OPA <Rodriguez.Juan@dol.gov> Mon, May 19, 2014 at 12:03 PM
News Release
Connect with DOL at http://social.dol.gov!
U.S. Department of Labor For Immediate Release May 19, 2014
Office of Public Affairs Contact: Diana Petterson Juan Rodriguez
Dallas, Texas Phone: 972-850-4710 972-850-4709
Release Number: 14-807-DEN Email: petterson.diana@dol.gov

rodriguez.juan@dol.gov

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway ordered by US Department of Labor’s OSHA to pay more than
$526,000 to terminated workers
Employer violated anti-retaliation protection provided to workers who report injuries

DENVER – Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has been ordered to pay more than $526,000 in back wages and other damages to two workers following an
investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA found that the company, based in Fort Worth, Texas, was in
violation of the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act for terminating the employees in 2010 and 2011 for reporting a workplace injury that occurred
at the company’s Havre, Mont., terminal.

“An employer cannot retaliate against employees who report an injury,” said Gregory Baxter, OSHA’s regional administrator in Denver. “OSHA recognizes that employers
can legitimately have, and apply, policies to require prompt injury reporting; however, that is not what happened here. When employers mask their retaliatory intent
through application of a policy or rule, they violate the law.”

The former employees submitted complaints to OSHA alleging violations of the anti-retaliation provisions of the FRSA. Because of these complaints, OSHA conducted
an investigation and determined that the reporting of the work-related injury was a factor in each former employee’s termination, which is a direct violation of the FRSA.
Burlington Northern has been ordered to pay back wages with interest, compensatory damages and attorney’s fees, while reinstating and expunging the two employees’
work records.

The reporting of an injury, regardless of an employer’s policy or deadline, is a protected activity under well-established law. The railway carrier failed to demonstrate that
it would have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the absence of the behavior protected by the FRSA.

Burlington Northern or the complainant may file objections or request a hearing before the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges within 30 days of receipt of
OSHA’s order. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the FRSA and 21 other statutes, protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial
motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, maritime
and securities laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the
government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor to request
an investigation by OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available
at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to
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 http://www.osha.gov. ###

Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.

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5/19/2014 A. H. Belo Mail - Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway ordered by US Department of Labor’s OSHA to pay more than $526,000 to terminated workers
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