A helicopter ambulance company was fined more than $188,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for allegedly retaliating against a pilot who twice refused to fly in 2021 over concerns about limited visibility, the agency said Tuesday.
OSHA said Tuesday that the pilot complained that Shreveport, Louisiana-based Metro Aviation LLC forced the pilot to resign, retire or be involuntarily separated from the company two weeks after the Aug. 10, 2021, rejections, which occurred in Utah.
OSHA said after its whistleblower investigation that its administrative review board found Metro Aviation’s actions violated the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, which protects employees who refuse to perform work duties because they reasonably believe doing so would cause them to violate against aviation safety regulations.
OSHA ordered the company to reinstate the pilot and pay him more than $171,000 in back wages and $17,000 in other damages.
The company and former employers have 30 days to file objections or request a hearing with the department’s administrative law division.
Metro Aviation did not respond to a request for comment.