City-_Metra_lawsuit_board_members.jpgPictured are four of 10 members of the Metropolitan (Metra) Rail Company: from left, Jack Schaffer, Larry Huggins, Arlene Mulder and John Partelow. The commuter rail company has been ordered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to pay a forrmer veteran employee $38,000 for overtime loss after the employee reported safety concerns. After the complaint Metra reduced the employee’s overtime and then let him go from the company. Photo/Rhonda Gillespie

The Chicago area’s Metra commuter rail agency has been ordered to pay $38,000 in overtime after a federal review accused it of violating whistleblower protections.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is accusing the rail agency of retaliating against a 22-year employee who made a safety complaint in August 2011.

The signalman reported that signal routes were not being tested properly because of time constraints. According to OSHA, the company responded by reducing his overtime hours.

It says that when the worker then filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department, the company eliminated his position.

OSHA says Metra provided no explanation.

OSHA regional administrator for Chicago Nick Walters says such actions ultimately raise concerns about passenger safety on Metra.

A Metra spokesman did not have any immediate comment Wednesday.

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