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Terminated from airline with refusal to give a reason

Discussion in 'Termination: Firing & Resignation' started by MH60FlyGirl, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    First some background, I have a 100% service connected VA disability rating and was also medically retired from the Navy in 2013 due to my injuries. It's been a long road but I was finally able to overcome my injuries and qualify for an FAA 1st class medical and return to flying. While I am otherwise fit, I had a severe back injury and every now and then it flares up. I even have an implant to help control pain. I started training at Trans State Airlines as pilot on 9/7/16. On 11/11/16 I went in to request a new sim partner and a change in sim schedule. At that time my current sim schedule was 8pm -2am and I was having trouble sleeping primarily due to back pain. It was clear I was suffering from fatigue at that point. And I expressed concerns that I wasn't able to perform due to not sleeping for almost 72 at that point. Also, that my sim partner and I were on two different levels and he wasn't showing up prepared. I was advised by my sim instructor and the pilot on examiner who conducted our oral knowledge validation to insist on a new partner be for he brings me down.Prior to reporting for my sim session I called my sim instructor and informed him I was still unable to get rest and was in pain and not fit to fly. He told me to come in at the regular time because someone from training was coming to speak to us. Later that night prior to starting our scheduled sim the head of training came to talk to us. He said that we were to be split up and that tonight sim was going to be a "freebie" and not count against us in terms of grading and would be extra practice. He also informed that Dylan,would continue on is current schedule receiving a few more freebie sim sessions and I would start again on a fully graded status on Monday. He also mentioned that he felt I was fatigued because my ground school instructor informed him I had been having some medical problems and during my break I went home to CA to take care of it. Although I had expressed repeatedly that day that I was not fit to fly my sim instructor encouraged me to atleast try. I made it two hrs before said I was done and couldn't continue. I was getting confused with simple tasks and couldn't read the displays because my vision was blurring.He called the head on training and I was given permission to leave. I then started with my new sim partner in 11/14/16. Everything went well and I was progressing as required.On 11/16/16 I was called into the Cheif Pilots office and informed my employment was being terminated. When I asked why they told me I was a probationary employee and they don't give me a reason. I feel like I was terminated because I requested to go home because I was in no condition to be there. During the course of my employment I had successfully completed all test and requirements up to that point. I did have seek medical attention for my back and had to reschedule a training session due to an ER visit and being given pain medication. I had never been counseled for any concerns about my medical status or to see if there were any reasonable accommodations that could be made. I feel like terminated because of my disability even though I was upfront with them at about my injuries prior to being hired. Prior to being hired by Trans States I was flying Corprate and didn't have any issues with my back. I believe it was the lengthy amount of time spent sitting in ground school, studying, and lack exercise facilities. Training is intense and it's not at all reflective of the physical requirements when flying the line. I also feel discriminated against as several men in my class were given the opportunity to retake portions of ground school and given extra sim sessions simply because they were deficient. Do I have any recourse? Since I was terminated I have not be able to find another flying job. Being terminated from an airline is very hard to over come as a pilot. And I don't feel like any part of this situation is deserving of a potentially career ending action.
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    As your employer told you, probationary employees can be fired without rhyme, reason, or explanation.

    What you feel doesn't rise to the level of what's legal.

    Heck, you could ave worked for that airline for 10 years and still be terminated.

    I'm 100% disabled, retired after 30 years army service, with four years in 'Nam. By the way, those years were 13 month tours.

    The VA also says I'm 100% disabled.

    Pain is relative.
    Don't allow your disease, illness, malady, or condition to dictate to you.

    You dictate to the disease, mind over matter.
    It hurts because you believe it hurts. Believe otherwise, it won't define you.

    All you can do, is get up, get back in the fight.

    You only lose if you aren't in the fight.

    So, you might never be a pilot.
    There are thousands of other careers open to you.
    Find your calling, get busy living your life, so busy you don't allow pain to define you.

    Bottom line, nothing in your termination was illegal.
     
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Additionally, the fact that you haven't gotten another job in the six weeks surrounding three major holidays (and companies dealing with year-end) is hardly indicative that you never will.
     
  4. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement but if I let my pain rule me I'd probably would have never walked again. I understand it will never go away completely but Ive got way to much invested to being a pilot to just change careers. I have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in aviation, over 6,000 hrs of flight time( including combat) hold flight instructor certifications and an ATP the highest level of FAA certificate. So you can probably understand why I'm not going to walk away from this without explanation. Additionally, airlines have to furnish pilot training records, reason for termination , and eligibility for rehire to the FAA and other potential air carrier employees per the Pilot Records Information Act. Aren't I not entitled to the information they are furnishing to other parties about me?
     
  5. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I understand that it's not been very long but it common knowledge in the industry that if you are terminated from a 121 carrier that your career is over. What they report on PRIA will ultimately make or break my chances. If I can get anyone to look at my application. I find it unsettling that they won't tell me anything but can report what they feel to any potential employer and the FAA what they wish.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Frankly, you never had a career.
    You were a trainee.
    You hadn't fully qualified at the time of your termination.
    You can take pilot training in other countries.
    However, if you've been blackballed already, you'll never prove it.
    Employers who blackball people aren't dumb enough to get caught.

    As stated, I see nothing upon which you can bring a SUCCESSFUL lawsuit.
    You can meet with three or four labor or employment lawyers in your county.
    One of those lawyers might know an angle you could pursue.
     
  7. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'll look into it. I'll probably start with an EEOC complaint. I'm curious though in what basis do you think I've never had a career? I've been a pilot my entire life and have only ever held pilot jobs. I'm just curious in that argument since I've previously been employed by a 121 air carrier and am type rated in that aircraft. I was in training status because I changed companies. That being said there is no reason to think that I wouldn't have passed requalification had I been allowed to continue. That's what makes this situation all the more frustrating. Thank for your input. Should look for labor attorneys or aviation attorneys since this industry is so specialized. Also, the company is in MO and I live in CA. What state should I been looking for counsel?
     
  8. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    I had never been counseled for any concerns about my medical status or to see if there were any reasonable accommodations that could be made.

    Did you request any accommodations? Unlike with FMLA, where the burden is on the employer, it is not enough that they know you have a disability. If you did not specifically request an accommodation, they are not obligated to raise the issue.
     
  9. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Did you request any accommodations? Unlike with FMLA, where the burden is on the employer, it is not enough that they know you have a disability. If you did not specifically request an accommodation, they are not obligated to raise the issue.[/QUOTE]

    Yes, I did. When the chair provided to me started causing pain. I requested a different chair, while I wasn't provided a more ergonomic chair ( the chair in the class room were similar to cheap cafeteria chairs) they told me to bring my own exercise ball to sit on. I also requested a change schedule. I am curious because at a previous employer they had me get a Dr to fill out a disability accommodation form. This employer did not.
     
  10. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    The law does not require any particular forms for accommodations. That one employer had that as their practice does not obligate other employers to do likewise.

    "Could I have a different chair, please?" is NOT sufficient to support a claim that you were not provided with an accommodation. "Neither is, "Can I get a change to my schedule?" I can't tell from what you've posted if your requests would be sufficient to put an employer on notice that you were invoking your rights under the ADA. Did you at any time say something on the order of, "I need an accommodation under the ADA in order to fulfill my duties?"
     
  11. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I believe I worded it more like , " I'll need accommodation for back injuries related to my service connection disability. Ive had similar accommodations from my previous employers and they in now way impacted my fitness to fly in the past."
     
  12. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

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    Your starting to scare me... I don't scare easy. :) If your just switching companies why you having trouble in the sim? I to am a disabled vet @ 100% with a implanted SCS like yourself. Is it just me in this world? Reason i say that is because i think about the hardship i place on the employer. The person footing the bill for every delay i would cost them. My son got his private pilot license at 17 and i so enjoy to fly with him. There are days that I can't go up because i hurt to damn bad. So I would assume you will have these issues as well. At the last min call in and say... I hurt to bad i am unfit to fly. Even taking one pain pill shoots you out of the pilot seat. Why did you leave the corp flying job? If you feel they should be forced to hire you, provide you with everything you need to acquire this job. Speak with a employment lawyer... going to EEOE isn't going to help. Also... Don't use the factor that your a disabled veteran as a footing to defind your disability. Doesn't matter how we got hurt in the civilian life.... only when dealing with the government.
     
    Betty3, Zorla and army judge like this.
  13. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I really regret leaving my Corprate job. The primary reason I left is that there was nowhere to advance. I was already a Captain with no opportunity to get into larger aircraft. As for the sim I wasn't having issues doing what was required, I was actually ahead of the syllabus. It was that one sim that I was exhausted and in pain when I asked to leave, at that point I was pilot monitoring not pilot flying so it was the other guy that was getting graded an not me. You have to understand to that pilots for whatever reason call in unfit or fatigued all the time. It's required of us and it's in our CBA with the union. That is why they have reserve pilots sitting in the airport waiting to be called. After the Colgan crash congress and the FAA really hammed down on the airlines. Rest rules were changed, as well as rules for commuting and calling in fatigued. I never called in once while flying my other job and I even had to load bags etc. My back probably doesn't hurt as much as yours does, in fact I can do a lot of things pain free. What got me was being sedary for so long. All we had time to do was sit and it crept up on me. To be clear I don't want to go back to work for this company. I just was my termination to be explained and given the opportunity to resign.
     
  14. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Unless you have a contract, union or otherwise, that expressly states in so many words that you must be given a reason for any terminations and that you must be allowed to resign in lieu of termination, you may be out of luck on both counts.You are in one of the very few states that EVER requires an employer to provide a reason for termination but even in your state it is only required if you were with the employer for over 90 days, and the request must be made in writing. Your state, and a VERY few others, requires in certain circumstances that ON WRITTEN REQUEST, employees who have been with the employer for over 90 days and whose termination was under a year ago are entitled to a "service letter" which provides, among other things, the reason for their termination. However, by my reckoning you were employed for less than 90 days which means the "service letter" law does not apply. Outside of states, circumstances and industries where there are services letter laws, no private employer is ever required to give a reason for a termination except in Montana and not always there; barring a contract that expressly and in so many words says otherwise no private employer, ever, in any state, is required to allow an employee to resign in lieu of being fired.
     
  15. MH60FlyGirl

    MH60FlyGirl Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you! The pilots at the airline are covered under ALPA . I'm sure there has to be something written in since we are union. Unfortunately, when I turned in the company iPad I lost access to the company manual, our union contract, etc. I'll see if I can look up our MEC on the ALPA webpage and go from there. Thank you for the advice it's all been valert enlightening.
     
  16. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Just as an FYI, not all or even most union contracts are going to have the two provisions you're looking for. I'm not saying don't look, because some do. But even with a union contract, it is by no means a guarantee.

    Working through your union may well be your best bet.
     
  17. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

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    I wish you the best MH60FlyGirl, Thank you for your service to this country. I know it sucks being tossed out by someone that hasn't a clue to what you deal with daily. At some point in your life you will be faced with a tough decision. Do i continue or find another love in life to keep me busy? I honestly hope that you find the answers your seeking. I hope you find a place that you can enjoy your job.
     

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