Pilot sues Southwest after colleague exposes himself

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Southwest Airways pilot is suing the corporate, her union and a former colleague who pleaded responsible final 12 months to dead-bolting the cockpit door throughout a flight and stripping bare in entrance of her.

Christine Janning alleges that Southwest retaliated by grounding her after she reported Michael Haak to the corporate and the FBI, that it saved him employed regardless of an alleged historical past of sexual misconduct and that managers disparaged her in memos.

She additionally alleges that the Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation conspired with the airline and refused to assist her. She is suing Haak for sexual assault. He pleaded responsible final 12 months to a federal misdemeanor cost of committing a lewd, indecent or obscene act and was sentenced to probation.

Haak’s legal professional, Michael Salnick, mentioned Wednesday that his shopper disrobed solely after Janning inspired him to and by no means did the rest. Neither Southwest nor the union responded to cellphone calls in search of remark.

Based on the lawsuit filed final week in Orange County, Florida, Janning had by no means met Haak earlier than August 2020, when she was his co-pilot on a flight from Philadelphia to Orlando. She says Haak, a 27-year veteran of the airline, had used his seniority rights the day gone by to bump one other pilot who had been scheduled to command the flight. Janning believes that’s as a result of he noticed a girl was the scheduled co-pilot.

Janning mentioned that once they reached cruising altitude, Haak advised her this was his ultimate flight and there was one thing he needed to do earlier than retirement.

She mentioned he bolted the door so no flight attendant may enter. He then put the airplane on autopilot, stripped off his garments, started watching pornography on his laptop computer and dedicated a lewd act for 30 minutes whereas taking images and movies of himself.

Salnick mentioned it was Janning who requested Haak if there was something he needed to do earlier than retiring. When he replied he needed to fly bare, she advised him to go forward after which made sexual advances after he disrobed, Salnick mentioned. He mentioned Haak rejected these and adamantly denied a lewd act occurred.

At his sentencing listening to final 12 months, Haak known as the incident “a consensual prank” that received out of hand.

Janning‘s legal professional, Frank Podesta, denied she inspired Haak or made any advances.

Janning mentioned within the lawsuit that she was “horrified,” however she saved flying the airplane whereas taking images “to create a document.” The airplane landed safely.

And that wasn’t Haak’s ultimate flight – he flew for 3 extra weeks.

In the meantime, Janning didn’t report the incident to a Southwest worker relations investigator till three months later. She mentioned she waited as a result of her boss had disparaged her to a male colleague beforehand. She mentioned she requested the investigator to not inform her boss, however she did.

Janning says she was quickly advised that as a result of Haak had retired, the airline’s investigation was closed. Janning then went to the FBI, who charged Haak. She alleges Southwest had despatched Haak to a Montreal sexual harassment counseling heart after a 2008 incident with a flight attendant.

Janning mentioned as retaliation for the FBI report, she was grounded for greater than three months, costing her a part of her wage. She was then required to take “pointless” flight simulator coaching earlier than she may work once more.

She additionally mentioned that on the day she was grounded, the airline stranded her in Denver and the FBI needed to guide her a United Airways flight so she may return house to Florida. She mentioned a Southwest supervisor despatched a memo to greater than 25 workers “that made baseless allegations” about her flying competency.

She mentioned that when she contacted the union, its leaders did nothing to assist her however did write a letter to Haak‘s decide throughout his misdemeanor case saying he had a “spotless” document.

No hearings have been scheduled.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Occasions, LLC.

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