Can blogging get you fired? One now-former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) attorney, who says he’s blown the whistle and is documenting retaliation on his blog, says the answer may be yes.
David Pardo, an attorney at the FAA, was fired yesterday, according to a post on Monday on his blog, FAA Lawyer Whistleblower.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told POGO that "Mr. Pardo is no longer employed by the FAA.” She added she “cannot discuss personnel matters,” because of privacy laws. Brown did not say whether FAA has an employee policy on blogging or using social media.
Pardo has his theory on why he was terminated: he says he was fired at least partly because of his blog.
"I was fired ostensibly for blogging about my experiences in pursuit of the truth, and for disclosing violations of law and abuses by FAA officials at the Office of Chief Counsel," Pardo said in an email to POGO.
His blog does not appear to mention anything sensitive or mention specific instances of misconduct by his management, though he does detail some of his travails with his management, the Office of Special Counsel, and the Transportation Department Office of Inspector General.
Pardo has told POGO that he cannot get into the substance of his whistleblower allegations against the FAA “due to attorney-client confidentiality.” He did say that "the misconduct I witnessed stems from a lack of independence on the part of some FAA lawyers."
With internet-based publishing, government and corporate insiders can now instantaneously and publicly highlight perceived wrongdoing and retaliation. Such a capability gives insiders a new direct medium to have their case tried in the court of public opinion, rather than in the failed system for dealing with whistleblower disclosures of wrongdoing and retaliation against them. But considering the recent termination of Pardo, there potentially are risks to using these means.
Other insiders who have used these kinds of tools include former Lockheed Martin whistleblower Michael DeKort, who brought attention to the troubled Coast Guard Deepwater program through YouTube videos, and Gerald Eastman, a former Boeing employee who raised concerns about the airplane manufacturer’s quality assurance system on his website, The Last Inspector.
-- Jake Wiens and Nick Schwellenbach