this is long and drawn out but a timeline should provide understanding of the magnitude of the federal violations that have taken place that resulted in my termination. I work for a major airline in Charlotte, NC (we're unionized btw), and I was placed on an unpaid suspension for a period that is not to exceed 7 months. this was due to the fact that I was unable to obtain a Customs and Border Protection Seal which was recently imposed by the company in order to meet the requirements for the job at that location. however, when I submitted my own application for a customs seal... it was denied. the reasoning for this was that I recieved a citation for being in violation of 19 CFR 122.183 for being in a CBP controlled area without meeting the security requirements (meaning being in an area that required a customs seal without having one). I appealed this to the full extent with customs officials and it came back denied and stated that they had a meeting with airline officials in october 2008. charlotte has been an international airport since the mid 80's and the one of the last revisions to the CFR was made in 1990. since that time, the company has knowingly and willingly operated in violation of these guidelines and they (the company) did not take any action of informing the employees of the policy until 06 february 2009... my violation happened on 11 january 2009. I also have signatures of over 100 employees stating that the company never informed them of the details of the federal regulations that pertain to international flights until 06 febuary. this would also imply that many of them had unknowingly violated federal code as well since the company never informed them of the policy.
pleading ignorance of the law is not going to be sufficient in settling this as an unlawful termination lawsuit. there are legal terms that state that the employers are responsible for the actions of their employees such as "respondeat superior" and "vicarious liability", but these terms are most often applied when the victim is a third party and not the actual employee. are there any legal terms or statutes that place the legal responsibility of ensuring employees are aware of the laws and regulations upon the employer when it comes to performing their duties as an employee?
its a tricky case I know, but so far the settlement that I would walk away from the table would be $4.5 million (1.7 in lost wages and 2.8 in punitive damages... I place damages that high because I am pursuing a BBA in management and may never be able to get a security clearance because of this single security violation).
up to this point, it is going to be hard for the company to prove my statement wrong that they knowingly operated in violation of federal code for an indefinable period of time (possibly as long as 22 years). a short investigation that would cross reference personnel certified by CBP to the scheduling roster would suffice to prove this (before resorting to testimonies of former coworkers).
one last fact... international flight operations are not even covered in initial training since "it is an issue that is discussed based upon the operational needs of each individual airport".
anybody ever hear of anything like this?