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Fri, Sep 02, 2011

Pilot Sues Continental Express For What He Says Is Wrongful Grounding

Attorney Says He Was "Relieved of Duty for Refusing to Endanger Lives in Severe Weather"

An Atlantic Southeast Airlines pilot has filed a lawsuit against codeshare partner Continental Express claiming retaliation against him and ruin of his professional reputation. The suit claims the pilot was targeted because he took precautionary action during severe weather conditions, costing the company money. In the filing the pilot alleges the airline used his pursuit of treatment for depression during a divorce years before as reasoning for grounding him.

Atlantic Southeast Airlines grounded Captain Michael Hirsch, citing a "psychological" condition after Hirsch refused to jeopardize passenger and crew safety on a flight from Houston to Milwaukee. Hirsch claimed extreme snow and ice conditions caused several weather delays.

"The company illegally began a pattern of discrimination and retaliation against Captain Hirsch, although he was performing all the essential functions of his job without restriction," Hirsch's attorneys said in a news release. "The fact that a company can attack an employee who sought help through an employee assistance program, which it provides, jeopardizes the rights of employees everywhere in every industry. No amount of bottom-line profit is worth endangering innocent passengers or trampling rights covered under law."

According to employee law, employers cannot discriminate based on disability in hiring, firing, training, or matters regarding compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges or employment.

The law firm representing Hirsch said he is aware of other employees discriminated against and wants to return to piloting with a clean record. "Captain Hirsch wants Atlantic Southeast to admit that it falsely accused Captain Hirsch of being mentally unstable to fly and to remove all documentation that prevents him from making a living in a job which he is honorably committed," the news release continued

FMI: www.lemond-law.com

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