A former Boeing Co. worker claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on safety violations at the 787 Dreamliner campus in North Charleston, but the aerospace giant says the termination came after the worker was caught falsifying inspection records.
Liam Wallis, a former quality assurance manager for Boeing, said in a lawsuit filed this week in Charleston that Boeing violated safety practices by using obsolete engineering, making undocumented repairs to fuselage sections and signing a non-existent manager's name to repair orders, among other allegations.
"Boeing sacrificed compliance with their own policies and regulations put in place for the protection of the public in exchange for the expedited completion of aircraft and profit from the sale of those aircraft," Wallis stated in the lawsuit.
Wallis said his "every action was unduly scrutinized" by supervisors after he started complaining about the alleged safety violations. He was fired on June 15, 2017, according to the lawsuit.
Boeing on Friday denied the allegations and said in a statement that Wallis was fired for falsifying aircraft inspection reports.
"Wallis was terminated after an internal investigation found that he submitted two falsified documents indicating that he witnessed required aircraft manufacturing tests that had not been completed," Boeing said in the statement.
"Boeing’s safety program discovered the discrepancy early in the production process, and the required tests were completed," the company said.
Boeing has not yet filed a formal response to the lawsuit, but said safety is the company's top priority and the Dreamliner program "has a strong culture of safety and compliance."
Wallis is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for wrongful termination, lost wages and mental anguish. He also claims Boeing failed to pay him overtime for work he did in excess of 40 hours per week.
Boeing's North Charleston campus assembles the wide-body Dreamliner commercial jet, along with a second manufacturing site in Everett, Wash. Boeing also has facilities in North Charleston that build interior parts for Dreamliner planes, design and build engine parts and conduct research.