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The Boeing whistleblower who was found dead earlier this month claimed a manager at his former company spied on him, and he was “harassed, denigrated, [and] humiliated” for raising concerns about quality control issues, according to documents released by his attorneys. 

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office told Fox News Digital that John Barnett, 62, died from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Saturday, March 9. Prior to his death, Barnett was taking legal action against Boeing over actions he alleged led to his “constructive discharge” in March 2017 and was seeking damages including back pay, lost benefits and emotional distress. 

BOEING NEEDS TO FOCUS ON SAFETY AND QUALITY AFTER INCIDENTS, FAA CHIEF SAYS 

“John M. Barnett, a long-term Boeing Quality Manager, alleges that throughout his seven-year tenure at Boeing South Carolina (BSC) made numerous ethics complaints about a deep-rooted and persistent culture of concealment at BSC in which he and other quality personnel were pressured by Boeing upper management to violate Federal Aviation Administration Standards and Regulations, as well as Boeing’s processes and procedures by not properly documenting and remedying defects,” read a redacted version of the lawsuit that was released by his attorneys and obtained by WCSC. 

“Barnett refused to bend to the pressure and continually raised issues that needed to be properly documented and addressed. In retaliation for his complaints and identifying issues that needed to be properly documented and addressed, Barnett was given low Performance Management scores, he was separated from his team and moved to other areas in the plant, and blacklisted and blocked from transferring to other Boeing divisions outside of BSC,” the lawsuit alleged. 

“In addition, he was subjected to a gaslighting campaign in which he was harassed, denigrated, humiliated, and treated with scorn and contempt by upper management, which was calculated to discourage him and others from raising such issues and complying with the law,” the filing also said. “Based on the totality of the circumstances, such conduct amounted to a hostile work environment and it led to Barnett’s constructive discharge.” 

The lawsuit, filed to the U.S. Department of Labor, says in January 2017, Barnett was notified that his name was “1 of 49” listed in an e-mail on a supervisor’s desk titled “Quality Managers to get rid of.” 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 188.10 +0.27 +0.14%

It stated that Barnett “continually objected to Boeing creating and maintaining a program not approved by the FAA that allowed mechanics to inspect and approve their own work, known as the Multi-function Process Performer.” 

BOEING WHISTLEBLOWER JOHN BARNETT FOUND DEAD DAYS AFTER TESTIFYING AGAINST COMPANY 

Boeing 787 Dreamliners being built

In one instance in 2012, a supervisor “began pushing Barnett to work outside the proper procedures” and when he emailed another supervisor to complain, that individual “told Barnett orally that he did not believe him” and “no investigation was conducted” into the matter, the lawsuit alleged. 

It also described how Barnett “complained about countless instances where parts were being stolen from one airplane and installed on an incomplete airplane without any documentation, traceability or engineering review” and how, in June 2014, he submitted a complaint about another manager spying on him. 

Boeing, when asked to respond to the lawsuit Thursday, told FOX Business, “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

      

“Boeing reviewed and addressed quality issues that Mr. Barnett raised before he retired in 2017, as well as other quality issues referred to in the complaint,” a spokesperson added. 

FOX Business’ Andrea Vacchiano contributed to this report. 

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