A commercial pilot who lost his job after complaining about violations of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations will be reinstated, under an order from OSHA. Massachusetts-based Jet Logistics Inc. (JLI) and New England Life Flight Inc. - doing business as Boston MedFlight (BMF) – must also pay the pilot $133,616.09 in back wages and interest; $100,000 in compensatory damages; and reasonable attorney fees.
Additionally, the company must clear the pilot’s personnel file of references to the case, refrain from retaliating against him and post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under AIR21.
While stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford in December 2015, the pilot first voiced to JLI and BMF his apprehension about whether a new scheduling policy would provide pilots with required FAA rest time. In January 2016, he contacted the FAA to register his concerns. He was terminated in March 2016 after he declined two flight assignments because he believed he had not been given the time to rest mandated by regulation.
An OSHA investigation concluded the pilot was terminated for reporting safety concerns, a protected activity under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21).
“This pilot should be commended - not penalized - for raising legitimate safety concerns that can affect him, his co-workers, and the general public,” said Galen Blanton, OSHA Boston-area Regional Administrator.
The order may be appealed to the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such action does not delay the effect of the preliminary reinstatement order.