The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows the agencies to share information regarding the anti-retaliation provision under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21). The act prohibits air carriers and air carrier contractors and subcontractors from firing or retaliating against airline workers who complain about violations of aviation regulations.

“Airline industry employees have a right to speak out about unsafe workplaces and practices without fear of losing their jobs,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Through this agreement with the FAA, we are reinforcing the message that silencing workers who try to do the right thing is unacceptable for workers and also unsafe for the public.”

OSHA and FAA each play a specialized role in protecting the safety of airline workers. OSHA investigates employee complaints of retaliation by air carriers, contractors and subcontractors and can order a violator to stop the retaliation, reinstate the complainant to his or her former position and pay damages including back pay and attorney fees. FAA is responsible for investigating complaints related to air carrier safety, enforcing air safety regulations and issuing sanctions to airmen and air carriers for violating these regulations.

“This updated agreement between the FAA and OSHA demonstrates our renewed commitment to an important program, which is designed to protect aviation industry employees against retaliation by their employers for reporting safety violations,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.