A man who was fired from an aircraft parts supplier claims that he was terminated for complaining about his employer’s dangerous activities, as well as for telling the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) about his employer’s dangerous practices. The man worked for aircraft parts supplier: Ameri-King. The company ordered workers to scrub off labels that said “Made in China” and replace them with labels that said “Made in USA.” The company also allegedly sold repaired parts as new.
The worker says that he worked on the assembly line at Ameri-King for eight years in Huntington Beach. He says that during his time there, he saw many practices that could endanger the lives of commercial airline passengers. He also says that many of the parts the company sold were imported and relabeled. Moreover, many antennas were found to be faulty. In many cases, when customers returned new parts that weren’t working, the company repaired them and sold them as new, FAA-approved parts.
The worker says that in 2008, he talked to his supervisor about some of the practices that went on in the company, and the dangers they posed to commercial airline passengers. The supervisor allegedly told him that if an airplane crashed, no single company would be held liable, and therefore it would be impossible to say definitively what caused the accident. The man continued to complain about the company’s business practices, but managers ignored him. He decided to collect evidence of what was going on and he sent it to the FAA.
The FAA investigated the company and visited it in January 2013. Employees of the FAA interviewed the worker in front of his managers about the company’s negligence. Later that day, his boss told him if he reported the company to the FAA again, he would be fired. A month later, the man was interviewed at FAA offices and provided a complete report of the fraud and irregularities occurring at Ameri-King. The company fired him in January 2014, claiming it had a lack of work for him. However, according to the fired employee, the company hired several new employees to perform his tasks.
The man filed a lawsuit for wrongful termination against Ameri-King. He is asking to be rehired, as well as to be given compensation for lost wages and costs, and punitive damages for whistleblower retaliation, wrongful firing, and unfair business practices.
Employees are encouraged to notify the appropriate federal or state agency if an employer is violating a state or federal statute, or not complying with a state or federal regulation. Under both federal law and California state law, employees cannot be punished for whistleblowing, or disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency about an employer breaking the law or providing an unsafe working environment. If an employer does retaliate against a whistleblower, the company can be held liable for damages. The employer may have to pay compensatory damages to compensate the employee for the retaliation, such as lost wages, benefits, and more. The employer may also have to pay punitive damages, which is an amount of money that is designed to punish the employer for its wrongful actions.
It’s unfortunate that employers choose to skirt the law in order to make more money. Their illegal practices can harm employees, customers, and others. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that employers who choose to retaliate against whistleblowers should be held accountable for their illegal actions.
If you have been fired for whistleblowing, you have the legal right to compensation for your illegal termination. Call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland Workplace Retaliation attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She works with clients in the Oakland – San Francisco Bay area, and can help you with your case. Call to schedule a free consultation.