An aircraft technician and his boss who work at FedEx’s Los Angeles International Airport location are suing the courier giant for allegedly ignoring their complaints that the company put profits ahead of safety by not maintaining its aircraft consistent with FAA safety requirements. Stanley Langevin and Mark Collins filed the whistleblower complaint on July 30 in Los Angeles Superior Court. Collins, who is black and also is Langevin’s supervisor, additionally alleges racial discrimination.
The suit seeks unspecified damages. A FedEx representative said she may have a comment on the case later after it is reviewed internally. Langevin, who has more than 40 years experience as an aircraft technician and also is an Air Force veteran, says he was retaliated against when he complained about the condition of many FedEx aircraft.
“Langevin uncovered a calculated, illegal scheme by FedEx whereby FedEx routinely and knowingly returned non-airworthy aircraft to service despite the need for further repair/maintenance in order to comply with federal aviation regulations,” the suit states.
“FedEx was more concerned with returning the aircraft to flight quickly and cheaply in order to increase their profits than with ensuring compliance with the federal aviation regulations.”
The suit cites as examples what it alleges are routine failures to repair corrosion extensive enough to crack the aircraft’s outer frame before allowing them to be flown.
“Langevin was and is very vocal in his complaints about these illegal practices, complaining to supervisors, managers, co-workers, quality control and engineers,” the suit alleges. “In response, rather than conduct a proper investigation into Langevin’s complaints of illegal conduct, FedEx began a course of severe retaliation against him.”
The suit states that supervisors routinely wrote Langevin negative memos, suspended him for “fabricated” reasons and coerced co-workers to come up with “dirt” against him so he could be disciplined and demoted. Despite more than three decades of work at LAX, Langevin’s reputation was hurt when FedEx supervisors“bad-mouthed Langevin, stating knowingly false, negative comments about his performance unrelated to his work evaluation,” the suit states. The bosses did so in order to interfere with his work on a contractual basis with other airlines, the suit alleges.
Collins, a Navy veteran who fought in the Persian Gulf War during Operation Desert Storm, faced a backlash because he defended Langevin, the suit alleges.
“Collins fully supported Langevin’s complaints and voiced his own complaints regarding the same illegal practices,” the suit states. “Collins further objected to and refused to be a party to FedEx’s pattern of retaliation against the whistle-blowers.”
FedEx management responded by refusing to promote Collins, by “screaming at him” and by treating him in a “hostile and rude manner” as well as shunning him, the suit states. The suit further alleges that Collins and other black employees were paid less than their non-black counterparts. Collins filed an internal discrimination complaint, but FedEx “failed to conduct a proper investigation” and did not ask Collins or any witnesses about the alleged harassment, according to the lawsuit. Collins also told management in 2014 that he had a disability, but was ordered to attend a manager’s meeting in Memphis anyway despite having a doctor’s note limiting his air travel, the suit alleges. Many other employees without medical excuses were not ordered to attend the non-mandatory meeting, the suit states. The suit does not elaborate on the nature of Collins’ disability.
FedEx supervisors also defamed Collins by falsely claiming he was part of a Ponzi scheme at work, according to the lawsuit.