FAA Investigates Claims of Boeing Retaliation Against Safety-Minded Engineers

FAA investigates Boeing for alleged retaliation against engineers who raised safety concerns on 777 and 787 aircraft. Highlights importance of whistleblower protection in aviation industry.

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FAA Investigates Claims of Boeing Retaliation Against Safety-Minded Engineers

FAA Investigates Claims of Boeing Retaliation Against Safety-Minded Engineers

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched an investigation into allegations that Boeing retaliated against two engineers who raised safety concerns in 2022. The engineers, who were acting as representatives of the FAA to provide manufacturing oversight, maintained that Boeing reevaluate prior engineering work on the 777 and 787 aircraft to account for new FAA guidance.

According to the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the union representing Boeing engineers, the two individuals faced negative consequences after advocating for the safety review. SPEEA claims that Boeing initially resisted redoing the engineering analysis, citing increased costs and potential delays, but ultimately agreed to carry out the work. However, the union alleges that Boeing subsequently retaliated against the engineers by downgrading their performance reviews.

In response to the allegations, Boeing has denied any wrongdoing. The company stated that it conducted an internal investigation and found no evidence of retaliation or interference against the engineers. Boeing emphasized its commitment to a culture of non-retaliation and encouragement of employee reporting.

Why this matters: The allegations against Boeing raise concerns about the company's safety culture and its treatment of employees who voice safety issues. The incident highlights the importance of protecting whistleblowers and ensuring that safety concerns are properly addressed in the aviation industry.

The FAA has confirmed that it is investigating the situation. In 2022, the agency took steps to increase its oversight of aircraft manufacturers, aiming to safeguard industry employees from undue influence by their employers when performing FAA-delegated duties. SPEEA has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, seeking access to a report Boeing submitted to the FAA regarding the incident.

One of the engineers involved in the case has reportedly resigned from Boeing following the alleged mistreatment. SPEEA is currently trying to appeal the decision not to change the other engineer's performance evaluation. "The engineers did the right thing and stuck to their guns despite heavy pressure from Boeing, and then got hit with career-damaging performance reviews," stated a SPEEA representative, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

As the FAA investigation progresses, the outcome could have significant implications for Boeing's relationship with regulators and its internal safety practices. The case serves as a reminder of the critical role played by engineers in ensuring the safety of aircraft and the importance of fostering a culture that encourages the reporting of potential issues without fear of retribution.

Key Takeaways

  • FAA investigating Boeing for allegedly retaliating against 2 engineers who raised safety concerns
  • Engineers claimed Boeing initially resisted safety review but later downgraded their performance reviews
  • Boeing denies wrongdoing, says internal investigation found no evidence of retaliation
  • SPEEA filed unfair labor complaint, 1 engineer resigned, other's performance review appeal pending
  • Case highlights importance of protecting whistleblowers and safety culture in aviation industry