According to Dan Hanley, public spokesperson for a grassroots air safety advocacy group Whistleblowing Airline Employees Association (www.airline-whistleblowers.org) suppression of airline employees from speaking out on issues of public transportation safety is systemic throughout the airline industry based on reports being received.
Airline Pilot, Dan Hanley, is working with Dr. Janet Parker, spokesperson for Medical Whistleblowers (www.blogtalkradio.com/medicalwhistleblower) to expose the truth about retaliation against Transportation Whistleblowers.
Join us for the Blog Talk radio show on Saturday August 8, 2009 at 5 PM Central Time or Call in (34... click on the Medical Whistleblower show on the internet and listen through your computer at www.blogtalkradio.com/medicalwhistleblower, or download the audio tape for free from the archives.
Airline management has employed forced medical or psychiatric evaluations on would-be whistleblowing employees for the purpose of termination of their employment. This problem of forced workplace psychiatric evaluations of whistleblowers is true nationwide and affects professionals in many disciplines. This has a chilling effect on other employees in the workplace for reporting other issues of concern, and thus in light of the consequences to their colleagues other potential whistleblowers are afraid to come forward. This results in a serious degradation of air safety that must be addressed by US Congress. To date, no mention has been made of this issue in any of the congressional hearings held concerning the Colgan Air Disaster. Human lives are at stake and the problem must be addressed. Forced medical and psychiatric exams by airline-appointed medical personnel must be addressed.
The two main situations where hired guns are employed are when the employer wants to discredit and if possible get rid of the employee; and in Workers' Compensation cases where the employee is claiming for a psychiatric injury, and the employer wants to avoid liability. If you throw enough mud at the whistleblower some of it will be expected to stick. The use of psychiatry to discredit the whistleblower is easier than with a physical disability because it is a soft science, lacking hard evidence such as X-rays, laboratory results, and pathological specimens, thus medical reports are much more easily falsified.
Hired gun psychiatrists are frequently employed by the employer to discredit the whistleblowing employee Psychiatry is more open to opinions even if unsubstantiated by true evidence of disability. In addition by creating a psychiatric diagnosis the employer can then dismiss the employee and will be able to counter any demand for damages in civil court for wrongful dismissal of a whistleblower.
This is tremendously unfair to the whistleblower victim of such abusive tactics because the psychiatric diagnosis carries a severe stigma in our society and the actual process of the psychiatric examination is often traumatic in and of itself. This retaliation technique also causes a workplace hostility which then will ultimately lead the employee to develop psychiatric problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. So this is an extremely effective way to discredit the whistleblower, as well as their complaints. It is common for supposedly confidential reports to be overtly or covertly circulated where they can do most damage. Secondly, in therapy a whistleblower may be compelled to relive the trauma which can lead to a secondary re-traumatization. If for a medico-legal purpose, the patient is forced by their employer to see an abusive hired gun, that the traumatic damage to the patient can be severe. It is not uncommon for the employer to continue to force the whistleblowing employee to see several psychiatrists and thus continue to search for one who will bring back a diagnosis that suits the employer's taste.