Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation

Boeing Safety Whistleblower Found Dead During Retaliation Lawsuit

Emanuel Shirazi

Former Boeing quality manager, John Barnett, who had recently given testimony in a whistleblower case against his previous employer was found dead in his car in the parking lot of his hotel on March 9, 2024. He was only 62 years old. The authorities are still investigating his death, which may be a suicide.

Barnett’s death occurred during litigation and a plethora of negative headlines regarding safety issues, including recurrent problems with its 737 Max planes. Even though Barnett worked on a different plane, the 787 Dreamliner, he had brought up similar concerns.

He had accused Boeing of repeatedly ignoring safety concerns throughout his tenure. Mr. Barnett worked at Boeing for 32 years and served as a quality manager for the last seven. He had filed an administrative complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) before his resignation in 2017. However, the agency stated that there was not reasonable cause to believe that the aircraft manufacturing company had violated any laws, specifically whistleblower laws. Mr. Barnett had been allegedly subjected to retaliation for voicing his concerns and filing complaints. In 2021, he filed a lawsuit alleging various safety concerns including stray titanium shavings falling into electrical wiring, defective oxygen tanks on the plane, the production of sub-standard aircraft parts and managers forcing him to cut corners. Barnett claims that due to the rushing of the assembly process, safety procedures and quality guidelines had been compromised.

John Barnett spoke about his experience in the 2022 Netflix documentary “Downfall: The Case Against Boeing.” According to Barnett, Boeing had stopped listening to their employees after several complaints and instead would retaliate against them for expressing their concerns. The company claims to have reviewed and addressed the safety and quality issues that were brought up by Barnett and other employees since 2017.

Barnett’s attorneys have called on Congress to reform and strengthen whistleblower laws, allowing Boeing employees to resolve their complaints without being retaliated against or punished. John Barnett’s whistleblower case is expected to head to trial in September of this year. Additionally, Boeing’s CEO, Dave Calhoun, has announced that he will be stepping down at the end of 2024.

Recent Posts