Carney R. Shegerian, an employee rights attorney and founder of Shegerian & Associates, a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm representing employees, discusses how employee whistleblowers should feel protected to step forward when aware of illegal and unsafe employer practices.

Associated Press reports, “Investigators are looking into whether long-known problems with the heating system in a cockpit window of the Boeing 757 played a role in a fire that forced an airliner to make an emergency landing near Washington.”

Flight 27, en route from New York to Los Angeles, transported 112 people, including celebrities Ashley Olsen, Pamela Adlon of “Californication,” Jarrod Spector of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys,” and Justin Bartha of “The Hangover.” A cockpit fire forced Flight 27 to conduct an emergency landing at Dulles International Airport in Virginia. The National Transportation Safety Board has commenced an investigation to determine the cause of the fire and whether or not such cause was due to “a recurring problem” involved in previous Boeing cockpit fires or a separate issue.

Boeing Company spokeswomen, Sanda Angers, revealed on Monday, Boeing’s knowledge of 29 incidents in the span of eight years involving such window heating system problems. Despite FAA attempts to pass proposed rulings, requiring Boeing to either regularly inspect or replace the terminal blocks purportedly responsible for the problematic heating system, records show airlines strongly criticize such proposal. Whether such opposition is due to the airline’s contention that the agency’s proposal would not resolve the problem at hand or due to the fact that if passed, this proposal will affect over 1,212 Boeing planes and the business it brings in, the verdict is yet to be determined.

Shegerian recognizes that all too often, employees are aware of shoddy practices, but are afraid to be viewed as whistleblowers. For fear of retaliation, harassment, and/or wrongful termination, employees are often afraid to speak up against their employers, especially when one works for a multi-billion dollar company. Shegerian urges employees to speak up against illegal practices and reminds the public that California law squarely protects against any retaliation based on such misconduct.


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