BNSF whistleblower who exposed safety violations worries others won't come forward
TACOMA, Wash. - A former locomotive engineer just won a legal battle in the 9th circuit court of appeals against Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad after blowing the whistle in 2011 over safety violations.
The Tacoma man says he's worried the dispute with the railroad, which has now continued for years, may silence others from warning of potential trouble on the tracks.
"The public needs to hear this," said Mike Elliott.
He says for seven long years he's been in a battle with BNSF over safety concerns.
Elliott insists he got fired for blowing the whistle on BNSF.
The railroad contends they parted ways with Elliott for 'unrelated' reasons.
He sued the railroad under the Whistleblower Act and won a $1.25 million verdict.
That was three years ago, but he's yet to see a penny and the court battle continues to this day.
Seven years after he first reported concerns, he worries what message that sends other railroad workers.
"If they don't feel they can come forward and express their concerns and report things, without some type of retaliation, then an important complaint may go by the wayside," said Elliott.