Three employees (one former and two current) at a LAX FedEx location were collectively awarded millions of dollars by a jury. The jury found that the employees were wrongfully disciplined by FedEx after they came forward to report allegations that the courier giant was prioritizing profits over safety in not maintaining aircraft in compliance with FAA safety requirements. The verdict was reached on October 19, 2018 after the Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for over a week.
The California retaliation suit was filed by Brian, Gruzalski, FedEx aircraft mechanic, and Stanley Langevin and Mark Collins, FedEx employees.
Awards Received by Plaintiffs in the Case:
· Gruzalski: $855,000 in compensatory damages and $3.8 million in punitive damages
· Collins: $260,000 in compensatory damages and $2.75 million in punitive damages
· Langevin: $144,000 in compensatory damages and $200,000 in punitive damages
FedEx claims that Gruzalski was fired for valid reasons, citing inappropriate language in the workplace, with some of it being racially charged. The company also claims that Langevin was demoted due to alleged moonlighting on company time for other airlines using FedEx equipment and that Collins’, as their supervisor, did not use his authority to call a halt to these behaviors.
FedEx claims that while FedEx jets are older than others in the fleet, they are all flightworthy.
Langevin is 69 years old and lives in Long Beach. He has over 40 years of experience as an aircraft technician and is an Air Force veteran. He claims he was retaliated against for complaining about the condition of the FedEx aircrafts. Langevin noticed that FedEx routinely and willfully returned aircraft to service that were non-airworthy due to the need for additional repairs/maintenance that would make them compliant with federal aviation regulations. The company pushed the aircrafts back into service quickly and cheaply in order to increase profits regardless of federal aviation regulation compliance. For example, FedEx regularly failed to repair corrosion that was extensive enough to result in cracking the aircraft’s outer frame prior to putting them back in the air.
Collins is 60 years old, a Navy veteran who fought in the Persian Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm and lives in Claremont. He claims he faced backlash in the workplace for defending Langevin and voicing similar claims in his support. This resulted in a demotion.
If you have questions about workplace retaliation or if you need to discuss wrongful termination, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.