The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ruled in favor of Adam Johnson on Oct. 1, 2014 as his employer, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), was judged to have retaliated against him after he reported a work-related injury and provided the company with his physician's treatment plan. Thanks to his FELA attorneys, BNSF was ordered by the federal agency to pay Johnson back wages retroactive to April, emotional distress damages and legal fees totaling more than $30,000. He will also have his former or a similar position, benefits and seniority restored. After he was injured, Johnson suffered periodic headaches and was encouraged by his doctor to take time off of work when they were severe. However, BNSF responded by ruling that he violated its "availability" policy in late 2013 for several absences from work, many of which had taken place after his work-related injury occurred. A month after it ruled similarly again in March following absences in December, January and February that were related to his injury, the company let him go. BNSF cited violations of its Employee Performance and Accountability policies related to its attendance guidelines. In between those two instances, the Mandan, N.D., switchman contacted OSHA through its whistleblower program and communicated that BNSF had illegally retaliated against him after he reported his injury and treatment plan. He added that his rights had been violated under the Federal Railroad Safety Act. OSHA investigated his claim and determined that it had merit as it was clear that his doing so was a contributing factor in his later being terminated by the company. "Reporting an injury and a subsequent treatment plan ordered by a physician, regardless of an employer's policy or deadline, is protected activity by law," Gregory Baxter, an OSHA regional administrator who works out of Denver, said in a press release. "BNSF failed to prove that its personnel actions were anything other than retaliation." If it desires, the nation's second-largest freight railroad network has 30 days from the time it received OSHA's order to file any objections or request a hearing before the organization's Office of Administrative Law judges. If no objections are filed during this time period, the findings will become final. BNSF, which is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, operates trains through every state in the continental United States west of Alabama. Its trains travel nearly 200 million miles per year, the most of any company of its type located in North America. It has operated since 1996, first as the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway before taking its slightly altered current name in 2005. Johnson's hometown of Mandan is located across the Missouri River from North Dakota's state capital, Bismarck. As part of this settlement, BNSF was also ordered to provide employees at its Mandan facilities with a copy of the Federal Rail Safety Act Fact Sheet to ensure that they are informed of their rights. The whistleblower program, which may be accessed at Whistleblowers.gov, provides an avenue for employees in a variety of industries to report violations to laws that their employers had committed. Workers are protected from any repercussions that may stem from reporting work-related injuries or violations of workplace safety, environmental or railroad laws. This is thanks to the Occupational and Health Act of 1970, which ensured that employers are responsible for providing safe workplaces, and those voicing violations of these rights should not be punished for doing so. If they are, attorneys such as a railroad injury lawyer should be consulted to make sure that the appropriate amount of compensation is provided for violating those rights. Railroad workers who are injured on the job are specifically protected by the Federal Employers Liability Act. Individuals who suffer these types of injuries should contact train accident attorneys to ensure that their rights are protected. Johnson was hurt in August 2013 while switching in a BNSF yard in Mandan.