Two Union Pacific Railroad employees have won their lawsuit against the railroad in a dispute over how they were treated when they reported unsafe working conditions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports locomotive engineer Mike Fletcher of Maxwell and conductor Todd Krekovich of North Platte will receive $10,000 each in punitive damages, plus $2,500 in compensatory damages from Union Pacific, based in Omaha. Their attorney fees will also be paid by the railroad.
The two crewmembers had reported their engine cab seats were unsafe prior to a scheduled freight train trip from North Platte to Cheyenne, Wyoming in November of 2015. They asked that they be replaced.
Their attorney, Lou Jungbauer with Minnesota-based Yaeger, Jungbauer Law Firm says Union Pacific refused to replace the seats. The two indicated they feared UP would fire them for pressing their complaint.
“When the Department of Labor makes a ruling assessing a punitive damage award, that means the Railroad’s management better wake up,” Jungbauer said in a written statement released by his office.
The two filed whistleblower claims with OSHA through the Federal Rail Safety Act.