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Old 3rd Aug 2014, 19:43
  #1502 (permalink)  
Crew rest.
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Australia
Age: 47
Posts: 61
I find it shocking that a pilot can be falsely accused in such a manner and have no recourse to pursuit of a defamation claim. In fact, I am pretty sure that if the pilot has evidence that the accusation was made with malice, then a defamation action would succeed. Note that the law protects whistle-blowers who act in good faith, strictly follow protocols, act with discretion and the requisite level of confidentially when making claims of mis-behaviour against another. However, you aren't protected when these claims are false and with malicious intent.

Sadly, this sort of story is all too familiar. I am aware of a story from some years ago where a pilot was the subject of rumours within a previous company. This married man was subject to allegations that he was having an affair with the company base manager, but also the manager of cabin crew. However, there was also a rumour that he was involved in illicit criminal activity. A cabin crew staff member forwarded these rumours to the police who launched a criminal investigation. As would be expected, the pilot concerned was stood down. The pilot was subsequently cleared by the police investigation who said that he had no case to answer. The company even put out a memo to this effect to inform all staff and to warn of the dangers of malicious galley gossip.

What had happened in the background of this was that the cabin crew member concerned had been caught out by the pilot in a toilet having sex with a man who she had just met on an overnight and the pilot made the mistake of telling a person who was a friend of her fiancÚ. The cabin crew member here undoubtably thought these rumours about this pilot were all true, but was being vindictive. After being cleared by a company and police investigation, the pilot concerned wanted to sue the person who had been the source of these rumours, who was identified by circumstantial evidence as being another cabin crew member.

In response, the cabin crew member and some of her friends then embarked on a dirt-digging expedition and came up with some "safety breaches" in order to get the pilot sacked. Although the company management saw these new allegations for what they were, they were investigated and the pilot was returned to line flying. Regarding the source of the initial rumours, nobody 'could remember' who said what to who, so a defamation case was a non-starter.

At this stage the pilot had an offer of a better job and resigned. However, with union backing, he negotiated a deal where he received his salary until he started with the new company.

If these allegations of cocaine use have been made in good faith, that's one thing. If they have been made in accordance with an agenda or with malice, I hope that some natural justice will prevail...but I doubt this will happen.

Last edited by Crew rest.; 3rd Aug 2014 at 19:54.
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