OSHA ordered a Louisiana helicopter ambulance service to reinstate a pilot who was forced to resign or be fired for refusing to fly over safety concerns regarding hazardous conditions.
Metro Aviation LLC also has to pay more than $171,000 in back wages and $17,000 in other damages.
A whistleblower investigation found the Shreveport, Louisiana-based ambulance service retaliated against the pilot who refused to fly twice in 2021 because of concerns about limited visibility.
Forced to resign or be terminated
The investigation began after Metro Aviation forced the pilot to resign, retire or be terminated from employment two weeks after the Aug. 10, 2021, refusals.
According to OSHA, the employer’s actions “violated the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century” and found “that this federal law protects employees who refuse to perform work assignments when they reasonably believe these assignments would cause them to violate aviation safety regulations.”
The pilot and Metro Aviation can file objections or request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the agency order.