Difference between revisions of "Whistleblower Protection Laws"

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Subjecting an employee to a 15D psychological evaluation can be an actionable adverse action where it is selectively implemented or utilized in a retaliatory fashion.
Subjecting an employee to a 15D psychological evaluation can be an actionable adverse action where it is selectively implemented or utilized in a retaliatory fashion.


The DOL ARB has held “that the intended protection of AIR 21 extends beyond any limitations in Title VII and can extend beyond tangibility and ultimate employment actions.” Williams v. American Airlines, ARB No. 09- 018, slip op. at 10-11 n.51 (Dec. 29, 2010)).  The ARB views “the list of prohibited activities in Section 1979.102(b) as quite broad and intended to include, as a matter law, reprimands (written or verbal), as well as counseling sessions by an air carrier, contractor or subcontractor, which are coupled with a reference of potential discipline.” Williams, ARB No. 09-018 at 10-11.  For example, “even paid administrative leave may be considered an adverse action under certain circumstances.” Id. at 14 (emphasis in original) (citing Van Der Meer v. Western Ky. Univ., ARB No. 97-078, slip op. at 4-5 (Apr. 20, 1998) (holding that “although an associate professor was paid throughout his involuntary leave of absence, he was subjected to adverse employment action by his removal from campus)).
The DOL ARB has held “that the intended protection of AIR 21 extends beyond any limitations in Title VII and can extend beyond tangibility and ultimate employment actions.” ''Williams v. American Airlines,'' ARB No. 09- 018, slip op. at 10-11 n.51 (Dec. 29, 2010)).  The ARB views “the list of prohibited activities in Section 1979.102(b) as quite broad and intended to include, as a matter law, reprimands (written or verbal), as well as counseling sessions by an air carrier, contractor or subcontractor, which are coupled with a reference of potential discipline.” ''Williams'', ARB No. 09-018 at 10-11.  For example, “even ''paid'' administrative leave may be considered an adverse action under certain circumstances.” Id. at 14 (emphasis in original) (citing ''Van Der Meer v. Western Ky. Univ.'', ARB No. 97-078, slip op. at 4-5 (Apr. 20, 1998) (holding that “although an associate professor was paid throughout his involuntary leave of absence, he was subjected to adverse employment action by his removal from campus)).


Remedies for Airline Industry Workers in AIR21 Whistleblower Protection Cases
=='''Remedies for Airline Industry Workers in AIR21 Whistleblower Protection Cases'''==


Under AIR-21, a prevailing whistleblower can recover:
Under AIR-21, a prevailing whistleblower can recover:
*Reinstatement;
*Lost wages and benefits;
*Compensatory damages for emotional distress and reputational harm; and
*Attorney fees and litigation costs.


Reinstatement;
Lost wages and benefits;
Compensatory damages for emotional distress and reputational harm; and
Attorney fees and litigation costs.
A mechanic who was fired for reporting insufficient maintenance on ambulance helicopters was awarded $485,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees.
A mechanic who was fired for reporting insufficient maintenance on ambulance helicopters was awarded $485,000 in damages, plus attorney’s fees.


An airline that filed a retaliatory defamation lawsuit against nine whistleblowers was ordered to withdraw its lawsuit and pay $7.9 million in damages to the employees.
An airline that filed a retaliatory defamation lawsuit against nine whistleblowers was ordered to withdraw its lawsuit and [https://www.osha.gov/news/newsreleases/national/04072009 pay $7.9 million in damages] to the employees.


In a decision finding that Delta violated the anti-retaliation provision of the AIR21 whistleblower protection law, Judge Morris awarded pilot Karlene Petit $500,000 in compensatory damages for emotional distress, humiliation, and reputational harm.
In a [https://www.oalj.dol.gov/DECISIONS/ALJ/AIR/2018/PETITT_KARLENE_v_DELTA_AIR_LINES_INC_2018AIR00041_(DEC_21_2020)_154529_CADEC_PD.PDF decision] finding that Delta violated the anti-retaliation provision of the [https://www.zuckermanlaw.com/aviation-safety-whistleblower-protection-lawyer/ AIR21 whistleblower protection law], Judge Morris awarded pilot Karlene Petit [https://www.zuckermanlaw.com/whistleblower_retaliation_compensatory_damages/ $500,000 in compensatory damages] for emotional distress, humiliation, and reputational harm.


In Vieques Air Link, Inc. v. USDOL, No. 05-01278 (1st Cir. Feb. 2, 2006), the First Circuit affirmed a compensatory damages award of $50,000 for mental anguish where the complainant testified that he depleted his savings and struggled to support his wife and two infant children while he looked for a new full-time job following his termination.
In '''''Vieques Air Link, Inc. v. USDOL''''', No. 05-01278 (1st Cir. Feb. 2, 2006), the First Circuit affirmed a compensatory damages award of $50,000 for mental anguish where the complainant testified that he depleted his savings and struggled to support his wife and two infant children while he looked for a new full-time job following his termination.


How to File an AIR21 Aviation Safety Whistleblower Retaliation Claim
=='''How to File an AIR21 Aviation Safety Whistleblower Retaliation Claim'''==
An AIR-21 whistleblowing retaliation complaint must be filed initially with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) within 90 days of when the whistleblower knew or should have known of the retaliatory adverse action.
An AIR-21 whistleblowing retaliation complaint must be filed initially with the [https://www.whistleblowers.gov/statutes/staa Occupational Safety and Health Administration] (OSHA) within 90 days of when the whistleblower knew or should have known of the retaliatory adverse action.


In 2015, the FAA and OSHA entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate cooperation concerning enforcement of the whistleblower protection provisions in AIR21.  The DOL and FAA both play a critical role in enforcing the whistleblower protection provision of AIR21. The FAA investigates complaints related to air carrier safety and enforces air safety regulations and issue sanctions to airmen and air carriers for noncompliance with these regulations.
In 2015, the FAA and OSHA entered into a [https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/mou/2015-12-01 Memorandum of Understanding] to facilitate cooperation concerning enforcement of the whistleblower protection provisions in AIR21.  The DOL and FAA both play a critical role in enforcing the whistleblower protection provision of AIR21. The FAA investigates complaints related to air carrier safety and enforces air safety regulations and issue sanctions to airmen and air carriers for noncompliance with these regulations.


='''Surface Transportation Assistance Act'''=  
='''Surface Transportation Assistance Act'''=