Region 2 News Release: 10-561-NEW (osha 10-59)
May 5, 2010
Contact: Leni Fortson
US Labor Department's OSHA orders New Jersey air carrier to reinstate pilot and pay more than $45,000 in damages and fees
MILLVILLE, N.J. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Worldwide Jet Charter LLC to reinstate a pilot after a whistleblower investigation determined the Millville-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.
"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 post and provide its employees with information on their AIR21 whistleblower rights.
Worldwide Jet Charter LLC 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 http://www.whistleblowers.gov/index.html.
Under the various whistleblower provisions enacted by Congress, employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Note: The Labor Department does not release names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit http://www.dol.gov/compliance.