Worker claims firing over pressure to falsify FAA engine test records
Pontiac — An aviation mechanic is suing his former employer — a Walled Lake defense contractor — alleging he lost his job after refusing to falsify engine test records.
Jason D. Giordano filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Oakland Circuit Court against Williams International Corp., which is a world leader in the design and manufacture of gas turbine engines used in small jet aircraft and cruise missiles.
Giordano, 30, was hired in 2007 while a student at the Michigan Institute of Aviation. After a series of pay raises and job classification advancements he was promoted in May 2010 to a field technical specialist earning $41,200 per year.
Giordano was fired last November, according to the lawsuit, following an alleged dispute about FAA record keeping at the company, which is a major vendor to the U.S. military.
“I really don’t have any comment beyond the lawsuit at this time,” said Giordano’s attorney, Michael L. Pitt.
Richard L. Braun II, an attorney for Williams International, issued the following statement: “We believe the lawsuit has no merit and we will defend it vigorously. Williams has worked closely with the FAA for many years and did not violate any FAA regulations or procedures.”
The lawsuit, assigned to Judge Renee Chabot, alleges that beginning in 2013 Giordano was asked by a supervisor to make false entries on FAA regulated documents including that he:
■ Certify all documentation that work was properly done by company employees even though Giordano neither participated nor witnessed the work.
■ “Stretch numbers” on jobs he did not perform, witness or was authorized to certify.
■ Certify work was completed properly even though he did not participate or witness the work.
According to the complaint, things came to a head Sept. 24 and 25, 2015, when a supervisor allegedly assigned Giordano to certify that aviation oil being used met FAA contamination standards. When an initial test showed samples measured by the computer indicated non-compliance with the standards, Giordano allegedly was ordered to reduce the sample size so the computer would provide an artificial result showing compliance.
Giordano refused and took his concerns to the company’s director of engineering. Shortly after, Giordano’s immediate supervisor confronted him about going “over his head” with the complaint, he said in the suit filed Nov. 3. Giordano began receiving performance evaluations characterizing him as “not able to work effectively as a team” and a pattern of negative behaviors. He was terminated on Nov. 5, 2015.
The lawsuit, which seeks in excess of $25,000 in damages, alleges Giordano was retaliated against because he consistently refused to violate federal laws or regulations.
Giordano claims that because of the unlawful termination he has not only experienced loss of income and reputation, but also “embarrassment, humiliation, emotional distress, mental anguish and outrage.”
Williams International has been the past target of peace demonstrations and mass arrests because the turbine engines tested and made there were believed to be used in military actions around the world.