Former Boeing employee alleges fraud, wrongful termination

by Martha Kang

Originally printed at http://www.komonews.com/news/local/45061467.html

 

SEATTLE — A former Boeing Co. employee has filed a complaint against the company and his two former managers alleging they wrongfully terminated him after he pointed out what he perceived to be fraudulent practices by the company.

 

Joseph Scilia, an attorney who was hired as an administrative assistant for Boeing, further claims the company and the two managers – Carrie Hill and Randy Hays – violated both federal and state laws.

 

A Boeing spokesman said the allegations are without merit.

Scilia was hired to work in Boeing’s ethics department in 2001. In the following year, he began managing the Compliance Assessment Program which oversees the company’s compliance of ethical guidelines — a requirement Boeing must fulfill in order to be eligible to receive government contracts.

 

Scilia claims his eventual termination resulted from the alleged violations he discovered while monitoring the company’s compliance. In the complaint he says violations consisted of “improper and fraudulent government contract procurement practices.” He further claims Boeing was diluting its self-check system that had been established in 2003 when the company became involved in an ethics investigation and consequently suspended from eligibility to receive government contracts.

 

“Scilia was required, in part, to assure that Boeing complied with approximately 32 risk areas,” the complaint said. “Boeing/Hill were committing fraud with the government by making false statements to the government regarding the true health and nature of Boeing’s compliance program.”

 

Scilia said in 2005, he raised a red flag over new policies that he believed would result in misrepresentation of compliance, which would equate to fraud. He took his concerns to his supervisor, but his concerns were not investigated as was protocol, he said.

 

Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said Scilia’s claims are unfounded.

“Boeing has strong compliance monitoring system and effective mechanisms for reporting potential wrongdoing,” he said.

 

After Scilia voiced his concerns, he faced a series of retaliations which included public degradation and urgings for him to “find another position somewhere else,” according to the complaint.

Then in 2007, he said he was removed from his position when he returned from medical leave even though the leave had been approved by Boeing. He added he had not been reprimanded while on the job.

 

Scilia said he was ultimately given the position as an administrative assistant in the Corporate Secretary’s Office. Five months later, he was let go due to “organizational changes,” the document said. He said he filed a formal complaint with human resources, but it was never addressed.

 

The retaliation and discrimination on the part of Boeing and its two managers caused economic loss and emotional distress, Scilia said, and as a result, he is seeking damages.

 

Boeing has not filed a response in court, but Bickers said, “This suit is clearly without merit, and we will defend it accordingly.”

 

Scilia’s attorney, Mary Schultz, said she and Scilia, who now lives in Spokane, are fully prepared to take the case to trial. She said the complaint extends beyond Scilia and the damages he is seeking.

 

“A company engages in practices that are defrauding the government, to the detriment of all of us,” she said. “This is a very important claim for everyone, all of us as taxpayers.”

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