An investigation by OSHA has found that Northern Illinois Flight Center violated the whistleblower
protection provisions of the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and
Reform Act for the 21st Century, known as AIR21, by illegally
terminating an employee.
The whistleblower, a pilot from Illinois, was
dismissed after contacting the Federal Aviation Administration to
discuss violations of the pilot certification process. As a result, OSHA
has ordered the company to immediately reinstate the employee and pay
more than $500,000 in back wages, benefits and damages.
The pilot alleges that he was asked to falsify an FAA Form 61.55 pilot
certification for a training flight he performed with another pilot. He
maintained that all required elements were not completed during the
training flight conducted Feb. 16, 2009, so he could not certify the
form. He also alleges that, on March 23, Northern Illinois Flight Center
supervisors attempted to coerce him into signing a backdated and
incorrect form. During a subsequent conversation, the pilot informed
his supervisors that he wanted to contact the FAA directly to get
clarification on the issue, and between March 25 and 27, the pilot
contacted the FAA Flight Standards District. The pilot was terminated
April 7, with no reason stated. The investigation, conducted by OSHA's
Chicago office, upheld the pilot's allegations and found that he would
not have been terminated if he had not requested to meet with the FAA
for the purpose of discussing the pilot certification process and forms.
Northern Illinois Flight Center is based in Lake in the Hills and
employs pilots to fly aircraft for the transportation of passengers and
OSHA conducted the investigation under the whistleblower provisions of
AIR21, which protects employees who report alleged violations of any
order, regulation, or standard of the FAA or any other provision of
federal law relating to air carrier safety under this subtitle or any
other law of the United States, or who engage in other protected
The following is from a Department of Labor press release:
Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment requiring a
Connecticut employer to pay back wages and take corrective action on
behalf of two workers who the department claims were fired in
retaliation for filing complaints alleging unsafe or unhealthful
The department's regional Office of the Solicitor simultaneously filed
complaints and consent judgments in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Connecticut on behalf of a former employee of Parker
Medical, an East Bridgewater manufacturer of X-ray devices.
On Feb. 17, 2009, the Parker Medical employee filed a complaint with
OSHA's Hartford Area Office, which began an inspection on Feb. 19, 2009.
Parker Medical discharged the employee the next day. The employee filed
whistleblower complaints with OSHA following his discharge, and
subsequent OSHA investigations found evidence to verify the claim of
The judgment permanently prohibit Parker Medical from discriminating
against, restraining or coercing any employee who files a complaint with
OSHA, cooperates with an OSHA investigation or exercises any other
rights guaranteed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Parker
Medical has agreed to pay the discharged employee $12,000 in back wages
and interest, display the OSHA poster with information about
whistleblower rights – in English and Spanish – in its workplace,
expunge the employee's personnel record of all references to the
situation and provide a neutral job reference.
The president of Parker Medical has responded in a letter published in the Voices News on November 7th:
Concerns for Free Enterprise
To the Editor:
Inc., a manufacturing company with 44 employees located in Bridgewater,
would like to make a statement regarding a news release by the U.S.
Department of Labor.
The referenced article tarnished the good
name and efforts employed by a family business started more than 28
years ago to pursue the American Dream.
U.S. Department of Labor
release number 12-1968-BOS/BOS 2012-184 refers to an alleged violation
regarding employee whistleblower rights.
Its claim as stated is completely unfounded. The employee was
sent home without pay about a week before the OSHA visit for not
complying with a safety practice. OSHA and the Labor Department did not
consider our excellent record regarding employee relations.
took 3-1/2 years for OSHA to settle the case. We believe OSHA and the
Labor Department, as well as other government agencies, are overstepping
their roles and not applying fairness in their decisions.
all for striving for 100 percent safety in the work place. It welcomes
productive OSHA inspection visits. PMI holds quarterly safety meetings
to assess safety issues.
In 2010, PMI was recognized as the best
mid-sized company in Connecticut. We could go on about our beneficial
proactive business practices, but that is not the objective of this
As a mainstay of the American economy, business owners
and the public at large must speak out on unnecessary impediments that
limit small business activities and growth.
To accomplish this
goal, community support is necessary. We would like to hear from the
readers who share these views, especially business owners.
It is intended to form a local group to deal with these
obstructions that undermine the free enterprise system. Government
agencies will be informed of our concerns.
William P. Holland, Sr.
President, Parker Medical, Inc.
Go to the letter in the Voices News.
Labels: Department Of Labor, whistleblower