Understanding the AIR21 Whistleblower Protection Program

Understanding the AIR21 Whistleblower Protection Program

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Jackson Barnett

Principal Attorney

The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21) stands as a critical safeguard for employees within the U.S. air carrier industry and U.S. aircraft/component manufacturers. Enacted to uphold air carrier safety standards, AIR21 includes provisions that protect whistleblowers from retaliation when reporting safety violations. 

Who is Covered Under AIR21? 

Employees of U.S. air carriers, U.S. aircraft/component manufacturers, their contractors, and subcontractors fall under the protective umbrella of AIR21. These individuals are empowered to report safety concerns without fear of reprisal, ensuring transparency and accountability within the industry. 

For those outside these categories, including members of the public or FAA employees, alternative reporting channels such as the FAA Hotline or internal FAA whistleblower programs are recommended. 

Protection Provided Under AIR21 

Under AIR21, covered individuals have the right to file complaints with the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) if they face retaliation or discrimination for disclosing information about air carrier safety violations. This protection extends to those who testify or assist in investigations related to such violations or alleged violations of FAA orders, regulations, or standards, as well as other federal laws governing air carrier safety. 

It’s important to note that while the FAA investigates reported safety violations, OSHA focuses on investigating and adjudicating claims of retaliation or discrimination in the workplace. 

 Find Legal Assistance from Barnett Law Offices 

At Barnett Law Offices, we understand the complexities faced by aviation industry whistleblowers. Our team is dedicated to ensuring that individuals covered under AIR21 receive the legal support they need to navigate whistleblower protections effectively. If you believe you’ve experienced retaliation or discrimination for reporting safety concerns, contact us today to discuss your rights and options under AIR21. 

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