Cannot Be Silenced
From: FAA Hotline (email@example.com)
To: (Mark Wheeler Email redacted)
Date: Monday, December 9, 2019, 01:48 PM EST
Dear Mr. Mark Wheeler:
The FAA’s Delta Airlines Certificate Management Office has completed their investigation of your safety allegations in case S20190916002. The investigation found that current procedures and policies are not adequate for the manuals where a nondescript designation of calibrated test equipment is to be used. Accordingly, the FAA is taking appropriate action to address the matter.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
Sincerely,Reporting and Data Analysis BranchFederal Aviation Administration Office of Audit and Evaluation800 Independence Avenue SW, Room 911 |Washington DC 20591
Delta Did Not Thank
Mark Wheeler For His Report
Instead, when his fellow aircraft mechanics were recalled from a COVID-related furlough, Delta refused to restore Mark to his regular forty- hour work week. Mark filed an AIR21 complaint.
In a decision issued July 28, 2023, Federal Administrative Law Judge Theodore W. Annos held that Aviation Maintenance Technician Mark Wheeler had engaged in protected whistleblower activity by communicating to his supervisors and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that Delta Air Lines’ tooling equivalency process was not in compliance with federal standards.
Judge Annos found that it was “undisputed” that Delta had taken an adverse action against Mr. Wheeler. The issues of Delta’s liability and damages remains to be determined in a full trial pursuant to the AIR 21 whistleblower statute.
Bret Oestreich, President of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), which represents aviation maintenance technicians at numerous airlines, including Southwest, Alaska, and Spirit, commented:
"Failing to comply with an FAA Airworthiness Directive for over fourteen years is jaw- slackening. If there is any non-compliance related to an aircraft’s electrical system, that plane is un-airworthy, period. That plane should not be in the National Air Space; it should be on the ground getting fixed.”
“Delta needs to overhaul its maintenance culture.”
Samuel Seham, Mark Wheeler's attorney, states:
“An aircraft mechanic who identifies violations of FAA safety standards should receive a commendation, rather than suffer an adverse action.”
Having lived an Air21 battle with Delta I was hoping the culture would have changed, but it has not. The problem is that the AIR21 Law does not have punitive damages, there is no accountability, and insurance finances the airline's legal bills. Without appropriate punishment against the individuals involved inappropriate behavior will continue and safety will be in jeopardy.
If you are an airline employee who has been harmed because you are attempting to improve safety, you need to reach out to Seham, Seham, Meltz & Petersen, LLP.
Mark Wheeler's representation is Samuel Seham, the son of my attorney Lee Seham. Both are brilliant, honest, and have a full understanding of employment law. But this huge win against Delta's high-powered outsourced attorneys goes to Samuel Seham. Well deserved.Seham, Seham, Meltz & Petersen, LLP