Family of Boeing whistleblower John Burnett says ‘hostile work environment’ caused his death



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The family of a Boeing whistleblower found dead on the day he was scheduled to testify against the company blamed the company’s “poor working conditions” for his apparent suicide. .

John Burnett’s family said: “He suffered from PTSD and anxiety attacks as a result of exposure to a hostile work environment at Boeing, which we believe contributed to his death.” This was his first comment after John Barnett’s death.

Barnett, who worked as a quality inspector and manager for a major jet airliner for more than 30 years before retiring in 2017, died in a Charleston County medical examiner’s office after the Charleston County coroner determined his injuries were a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound in a truck. He was found dead in a county parking lot. Saturday at a hotel in South Carolina.

John Barnett was found dead in his truck Saturday from a “self-inflicted” gunshot wound. Courtesy of the Barnett family.

The engineer was scheduled to testify further in court in a whistleblower case against the company, but he never did.

His welfare check was claimed and his body was found inside an orange pickup truck, a silver handgun still clutched in his hand.

Barnett, 62, loved working for Boeing until 2010, when he transferred to Boeing’s 787 aircraft factory in Charleston, his family said Tuesday.

“His situation changed dramatically when he learned that senior management was putting pressure on quality inspectors and managers to cut corners and not follow processes and procedures required by law,” the family said. Told.

They said Boeing pressured employees to overlook defects so as not to slow down the assembly line, and that employees who refused were “labeled as troublemakers, retaliated against, and subjected to a hostile work environment.” I was exposed,” he said.

Barnett worked for Boeing for more than 30 years before retiring in 2017, the same year he filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his former employer. burnett family

Barnett, known to his family as “Mitch” and friends as “Swampy,” told his family it was a daily battle to get management to do the right thing.

“He was deeply concerned about the safety of aircraft and public flight, and had identified several serious deficiencies that he felt had not been adequately addressed,” the relative said.

“He said Boeing had a culture of cover-up and prioritized profits over safety,” it added.

Barnett’s doctors became concerned about his health as the job he once loved became so stressful.

“This caused him so much stress that doctors told him that if he continued, he would have a heart attack,” the statement said.

Barnett was found dead on the same day he was scheduled to testify against the jet manufacturer. Courtesy of the Barnett family.

Barnett filed a complaint against her employer in 2017 and was “looking forward to her day in court.”

“Mitch took all of this on his shoulders and tried to bring this all to light for the benefit of the flying public,” the family said.

Charleston police are investigating the circumstances of Barnett’s death, but his attorney has questioned the circumstances.

Boeing said in a statement: “We are saddened by the passing of Mr. Barnett and extend our condolences to his family and friends.” He did not comment directly on the contents of the family’s statement.

Barnett’s family blamed his death on Boeing’s “hostile work environment,” which caused him to develop PTSD and anxiety. AFP (via Getty Images)

The company has faced intense backlash after an airborne door plug exploded on an Alaska Airlines flight in January.

A Federal Aviation Administration audit found dozens of problems throughout the manufacturing process for Boeing’s 737 MAX jets, including “unacceptable” quality control problems.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 or visit

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