Pilot sues Southwest after coworker exposes himself

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. A Southwest Airways pilot is suing the corporate, its union and a former affiliate who pleaded responsible final 12 months to locking the cockpit door and being bare in entrance of it throughout a flight.

Christine Jenning alleges that Southwest retaliated after Michael Hawks reported to the corporate and the FBI, that he employed her regardless of her alleged historical past of sexual misconduct, and that managers insulted her in memos.

She additionally alleged that the Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation conspired with the airline and refused to help it. She is suing Hawks for sexual assault. He pleaded responsible final 12 months to a federal misdemeanor cost of committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act and was sentenced to probation.

Hawks’ lawyer, Michael Salnick, mentioned Wednesday that his consumer took off his garments solely after being inspired by Jenning and by no means did the rest. Neither Southwest nor Union responded to cellphone calls in search of remark.

Based on the lawsuit filed final week in Orange County, Florida, Jenning had by no means met the Hawks earlier than August 2020, when she was their co-pilot on a flight from Philadelphia to Orlando. She says Hawks, a 27-year veteran of the airline, used her seniority rights the day prior to this to compete with one other pilot who had been assigned to command the flight. Jenning believes it’s because he seen {that a} lady was the scheduled co-pilot.

Jenning mentioned that when he reached altitude, the Hawks informed him it was his final flight and that he wished to do one thing earlier than retirement.

She mentioned she closed the door in order that no flight attendant might enter. He then put the airplane on autopilot, took off his garments, started watching pornography on his laptop computer and dedicated obscene acts whereas taking photos and movies of himself for half-hour.

Salnick mentioned it was Jenning who requested Hawks if he wished to do something earlier than retiring. When he replied that he wished to fly bare, he informed her to maneuver on after which have intercourse after taking off her garments, Salnick mentioned. He mentioned the Hawks dismissed him and denied a lewd act.

Throughout his sentencing hearings final 12 months, Hawks known as the incident a “consensual mischief” that bought out of hand.

Jenning’s lawyer, Frank Podesta, denied that he inspired the Hawks or made any advances.

Jenning mentioned within the lawsuit that she was “intimidated” however continued to fly the airplane, taking photos “to make the file”. The airplane landed safely.

And that was not the final flight of the Hawks – he flew for 3 extra weeks.

In the meantime, Jenning didn’t report the incident to a Southwest worker relations investigator till three months later. She mentioned she waited as a result of her boss had beforehand humiliated her as a male colleague. He mentioned that he requested the investigator to not inform his boss, however he did.

Jenning says she was informed quickly after that as a result of the Hawks had retired, the airline’s investigation was closed. Jenning then went to the FBI, who charged Hawks. She alleged that Southwest despatched Hawks to the Montreal Sexual Harassment Counseling Heart after a 2008 incident with a flight attendant.

Jenning mentioned that as retaliation for the FBI report, she was barred for greater than three months, spending a part of her wage. Then he was required to take “pointless” flight simulator coaching earlier than he might work once more.

He additionally mentioned that the day he was intercepted, the airline trapped him in Denver and the FBI needed to e book him a United Airways flight in order that he might return to Florida. She mentioned a Southwest supervisor despatched a memo to greater than 25 staff that “made unfounded allegations” about her airworthiness.

She mentioned that when she contacted the union, its leaders did nothing to assist her, however wrote a letter to the Hawks choose throughout her misdemeanor case saying she had an “unblemished” file.

No listening to has been scheduled.

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