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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered a small Boston-based airline to reinstate a pilot who lost his job after complaining about what he believed were violations of the Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the department announced Wednesday.
The pilot was stationed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford in December 2015 when he voiced concerns to his employer, Jet Logistics Inc. and New England Life Flight Inc., doing business as Boston MedFlight, his apprehension about whether a new scheduling policy would provide pilots with required FAA rest time, according to a press release.
A month later, in January 2016, he contacted the FAA to register his concerns and 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 federal law.
In addition to reinstating the employee, and clearing his personnel file of any reference to the issues involved in the investigation, OSHA also ordered the airline to pay the pilot $133,616.09 in back wages and interest, $100,000 in compensatory damages, reasonable attorney fees and to refrain from retaliating against the employee. The employers must also post a notice informing all employees of their whistleblower protections under federal law.
“This pilot should be commended — not penalized — for raising legitimate safety concerns that can affect him, his co-workers and the general public,” Galen Blanton, OSHA Boston-area regional administrator, said in a press statement.
“Boston MedFlight is appealing OSHA’s decision, as the individual was not an employee of ours. We contest and disagree with facts stated in the decision. We address any safety concern raised with the greatest sense of urgency,” a spokesman for Boston MedFlight said in an email.
(Reuters) — The Federal Aviation Administration is failing to ensure that airline pilots maintain their flying skills so they can safely take control of an aircraft from automated systems during an unexpected event, according to a U.S. Transportation Department report released on Monday.