Air Carrier Ordered to Reinstate Pilot in AIR21 Action
OSHA has ordered Worldwide Jet Charter LLC to reinstate a pilot after a whistleblower investigation determined the Millville, N.J.-based air carrier violated the pilot's rights when he was fired for reporting alleged violations of Federal Aviation Administration regulations related to a flight taken to Millville Airport.
The pilot filed a complaint with OSHA alleging retaliation under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, the aviation industry whistleblower law known as AIR21. An investigation by OSHA's New York Regional Office found merit to the pilot's complaint. OSHA does not release the name of complainants in whistleblower cases.
"Pilots and other workers of air carriers have the legal right to report violations of federal aviation regulations," said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York. "Air carriers that retaliate against employees for exercising their rights under AIR21 will be held accountable."
As a result of OSHA's findings, the company was ordered to reimburse the pilot for all lost wages and bonuses plus interest and to pay compensatory damages totaling $21,192 and attorney's fees totaling $24,610. OSHA also ordered the air carrier to take other corrective actions, including expunging disciplinary actions and references to them from various records, as well as posting and providing its employees with information on their AIR21 whistleblower rights.
The air carrier and the complainant have 30 days from receipt of the findings to file an appeal with the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges. OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of AIR21 and 16 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various securities laws, trucking, airline, nuclear power, pipeline, environmental, rail, public transportation, workplace safety and health regulations, and consumer product safety laws. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available online at www.osha.gov/dep/oia/whistleblower/index.html.