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New FAA Office Established to Protect Whistleblowers

To Promote Safety and Ensure its Propagation

The Federal Aviation Administration announced on 12 April 2023 that a new centralized office has been established within the agency for purpose of providing high-ranking FAA officials data, independent reviews, and objective decisions pertaining to allegations of managerial malfeasance or misconduct.

Dubbed The Office of Investigations and Professional Responsibility, the new entity aims, in part, to protect whistleblowers and others well-intentioned sorts who come forward with safety concerns despite peril to themselves and their careers.

The Office of Investigations and Professional Responsibility will support the FAA’s Voluntary Safety Reporting Program, which the administration launched in 2021.

According to the FAA, the Voluntary Safety Reporting Program affords those who work within the agency’s Aviation Safety organizations opportunity to confidentially report safety concerns without fear of retaliatory ostracism, punitive action, or job-loss. Information shared and submitted via the system is used to validate and verify any and all reported or implied aviation safety concerns, identify the root cause or causes of such, and determine appropriate corrective action(s).

In March 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor took action against a business aviation company that willfully provided false information to a former employee’s new employer in an ill-conceived ploy to occasion the individual’s firing. The misdeed was undertaken in retaliation against a pilot who, prior to his departure from the business aviation concern, had expressed concerns over the safety culture of such.

Investigators from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that the business aviation company had sent a falsified and negative Pilot Records Improvement Act report to the pilot’s new employer after the aviator reported safety issues which precipitated an onsite inspection.

By establishing the Office of Investigations and Professional Responsibility, the FAA sets out to protect whistleblowers and preclude future instances of retaliation against workers compelled to bring safety concerns to light.



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