You’re gonna go down defending this, aren’t ya?
Pretty clearly stated that I wasn't defending what happened to her. I am giving the facts as revealed in the case testimony, which anyone is welcome to read, so that it can be put in the context of actual events.
Those facts make clear that up until the false diagnosis, Delta acted appropriately to address what they perceived as a mental health issue with a pilot. After the diagnosis, the process went into the dumpster, and Delta is paying the cost of that now.
There is much more in the testimony that is indirect evidence of a health issue. I haven't recited that here because it's not relevant to the thread. But she had made other accusations over the course of her career, and in this case as well.
There's a reason why this case has been drawn out over years, and has hundreds of pages of testimony. It's not as simple as is portrayed by the media.
Uh, no. Try again.
"Judge Morris characterized Dr. Petitt’s stated safety concerns as “prudent and reasonable,” he found that Captain Graham viewed her “tenacity in seeking clarification about her stated safety concerns as somehow problematic.” ... Graham subsequently ordered Dr. Petitt to submit to psychiatric examination, a decision approved by Stephen Dickson. Prompted by its legal counsel Chris Puckett, Delta selected Dr. David B. Altman as the examiner, whom the judge characterized as “merely a tool used by Captain Graham to effectuate a management objective.” ... Judge Morris awarded Dr. Petitt compensatory damages of $500,000 – five times the highest previously recorded award under the whistleblower statute – in recognition of the “severe emotional toll this placed on [Dr. Petitt’s] wellbeing.”
[Judge Morris said] "the evidence does not support presence of a psychiatric diagnosis but does support an organizational/corporate effort to remove this pilot from the rolls... the Tribunal finds less than credible Captain Dickson’s deposition testimony as it found many of his responses evasive … His testimony was of value in understanding the leadership culture at [Delta] and its understanding (or lack thereof) of [Delta’s] management’s role in its safety management program. His emails make it clear that Respondent’s much touted ‘open door policy’ was not as opened as portrayed.”
In any organization, you have the opportunity to express concerns up to the point of a full hearing. But you are obligated to accept the organizational decision, after all the facts are known and expressed. Even if you think it's wrong.
The testimony showed that Petit was granted that several times over, going though her supervisory chain, her union rep, and up through the VPs of Delta. At each stage, she was given a full hearing. She didn't accept any of the company's arguments, evidence, or reasoning, and demanded a meeting with the CEO.
Most organizations have limited tolerance for that behavior. Petit was told, by both Graham and Dickson in the meeting, that they valued her education, her desire for safety, and her ideas, but had decided against these particular requests. They offered her a position on a safety committee so she could continue to contribute.
In response to this, she became upset, and said they were condescending and disrespectful toward her as a woman. That she had experienced this many times at Delta, and that other women had the same experience.
At that point she had made a discrimination claim, so they ended the meeting and instructed her to take her grievance to HR, which is the company policy. In that meeting, the HR rep testified that Petit was animated and upset beyond all reason, for what had ocurred. The HR rep said she found no factual basis for discrimination, in that or any other meeting where Petit's ideas were considered.
None of this is in Judge Morris' ruling, but it's all documented in the testimony. He selected what he felt were the relevant facts, but another reasonable person might consider these facts as well. Delta certainly did.
This is why you have to read the testimony. There are two sides to every story. Based on the court record, I agree with Judge Morris that Petit was mistreated by Delta and deserves compensation. But disagree, based on the total preponderance of the evidence, that Delta was vindictive in their application of Section 15. My view is that they acted appropriately, under the circumstances.
Also disagree with Judge Morris' characterization of Dickson as evasive. Dickson testified he wasn't involved in her evaluation, read the reports, and accepted the recommendations. He said he had no reason to doubt them at the time, but recognizes after reviewing other evaluations, that it was an injustice to Petit.
What Judge Morris was looking for in the hearing, and encouraged plaintiff counsel to question, was an admission by Graham or Dickson that they knew, or at least expected, the Section 15 to be punitive and result in Petit's removal from line duty. Both testified that they agreed on the Section 15 but had no expectation as to the result. That is the part that Judge Morris found evasive and not credible.
The entire case hinges on that issue. Did Delta act reasonably in requesting the section 15? And did they act reasonably in accepting the false diagnosis? My view is yes to the former, and no to the latter.