The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a state’s employment laws barring discharge for whistleblowing isn’t preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act.
Recent case: John worked as a flight paramedic for Air Methods. He claims that while employed he saw numerous Airline Deregulation Act violations, including a pilot making cell-phone videos in flight and other crew members texting during critical times.
When he told his employer, he claims, he was fired. He sued, alleging that his discharge violated his state’s public policy exception to at-will employment. That is, he wanted the court to find that he had been fired in retaliation for whistleblowing.
The court concluded that the Airline Deregulation Act, a federal law designed to regulate air travel, did not preempt a state law protecting employees. His case can go forward. (Watson v. Air Methods, 8th Cir., 2017)