Business aviation carrier in US penalized after taking revenge on whistleblower

Dimitrije Ostojic /

The US Department of Labor has taken action against a business aviation company that provided false information to get a former employee sacked from their new job, after that employee raised safety concerns.

The Department of Labor believes that the employer, California-based Pegasus Elite Aviation, ‘retaliated’ against the former employee for reporting flight safety issues.  It has therefore ordered the company to pay $958,000 in back wages and associated costs, and to also correct misinformation that the company provided about a former employee.

Investigators from the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that after the former employee reported safety issues that led to an onsite inspection, the company sent a falsified and negative Pilot Records Improvement Act report to the worker’s new employer, which led to the employee’s termination.

OSHA also found Pegasus Elite Aviation provided falsified information to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that contributed to the agency’s decision to suspend the former employee’s pilot certificates.

According to the US Department of Labor’s news statement, OSHA has ordered Pegasus Elite Aviation to pay more than $898,000 in back wages and associated costs, $50,000 in emotional damages and $10,000 in attorney’s fees.

On top of the monetary penalties, Pegasus Elite Aviation must send a letter of correction to the FAA and other employers who received the falsified, derogatory report about the former employee.

According to its website, Pegasus Elite Aviation offers charter, maintenance, and aircraft management. The company is based in Van Nuys, California. 

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