Thursday, August 01, 2013

Manassas Jet Company Fights Labor Department Order to Pay $218K to Fired Pilot

The Department of Labor ordered Metropolitan Aviation to pay a former pilot damages and back pay following a June 17, 2010 emergency landing.

Manassas-based Metropolitan Aviation was ordered this week to pay $218,983 in damages and back pay to a former pilot who said the company forced him to fly a faulty aircraft.

The U.S. Department of Labor also ordered the private jet charter company to pay the pilot’s attorney fees and to re-hire him as an employee.

Department of Labor officials ruled Metropolitan Aviation violated the pilot's rights when he was fired for reporting an emergency landing.

The department issued the order on Monday after the pilot filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) alleging the company fired him in retaliation for filing a safety complaint against it, said Lauren Mendonsa and David Wachtel, lawyers for the pilot, who isn’t being identified.

Alan Cook, CEO of Metropolitan Air said to Patch the pilot never filed a safety complaint while he was employed and only did so after he was terminated, so the company couldn’t have retaliated against him.

The company has every intention of appealing the ruling within the 30 days allotted by the Department of Labor, Cook added.

The former pilot's compliant stems from an emergency landing in Pennsylvania during a Metropolitan Aviation flight from Teterboro, N.J to Detroit on June 17, 2010, according to the pilot’s lawyers.

“Shortly after take-off, the plane’s master warning light went off in the cockpit, accompanied by vibrations and the sound of rushing air,” the lawyers said in a written statement sent to Patch. “ The pilot then heard a loud bang, the plane shook, and he saw the plane’s rear bay overheat light flash on, which indicated a possible fire in the tail compartment.  The pilot declared an in-flight emergency and sought clearance for an emergency landing in State College, Pennsylvania.”

After the plane landed safety with its three passengers and crew, the former pilot said Metropolitan Aviation officials ordered him to fly the damaged plane back to Manassas, but he refused.

Cook said no one from the company ever ordered him to fly the plane back to Manassas.