Jury awards BNSF Railway whistleblower $1.6 million

SEATTLE (AP) _ A former BNSF Railway employee who says he was fired after conducting a brake test despite objections from his supervisors has been awarded $1.6 million.

The Seattle Times reports (http://bit.ly/1X15QB0 ) that a federal jury on Thursday ruled in favor of Curtis Rookaird, who says he was fired in 2010 after conducting a brake check on 42 train cars despite other employees suggesting the tests were not necessary because BNSF was working to meet a schedule. He later reported the incident to the Federal Railroad Administration.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says he is disappointed with the jury's decision and that the company maintains that Rookaird's dismissal was justified. Melonas says some information was withheld from the trial and that the railroad is weighing its options before moving forward.