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AA Mechanic at ORD Suing Carrier for Hiring Fraud

Thomas Ballard joined American believing that he would be able to double his earnings under an incentive program offered by the carrier. But this was withdrawn months after Ballard’s joining.

An American Airlines (AA) mechanic based at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is suing the carrier for fraud, the Chicago Tribune reports. Thomas Ballard, a mechanic with 24 years of experience, has claimed that he was hired under a fast-track pay incentive program that was rescinded two months after he joined the carrier in 2015.

The suit was filed on February 28th in Cook County Circuit Court by Ballard on behalf of AA employees who may have had their earnings stunted by the carrier’s withdrawal of the program. The paper reports that, before he joined AA in the summer of 2015, Ballard was making more than $30 per hour as an employee of another airline.

At that point, the carrier’s incentive program, which had been in place for approximately a year, offered Ballard the chance to take a two-year track to the top of an hourly wage scale of $48.

Despite taking a cut in pay, Ballard joined AA for an hourly wage $25.70 on the understanding that the program would enable him to almost double his pay within two years. But in August 2015, the lawsuit alleges, the program was withdrawn, meaning that it would now take Ballard eight years to double his earnings.

Additionally, Ballard’s lawsuit alleges that the carrier was in discussion with representatives of Transport Workers Union (TWU) of America Local 591 to halt the pay program at the time Ballard was hired. However, Brian Friedman, TWU Local 591’s regional vice president, clarified to the paper this week that he had not been involved in negotiations at AA regarding this program.

Ballard’s lawsuit is taking action against the carrier for alleged fraud, breach of oral contract and unjust enrichment.

Speaking of the action, Larry Drury, the attorney representing Ballard, was quoted by the outlet as saying, “They breached the agreement, and the agreement goes not only to him [Ballard] but to all the other persons that we’re seeking to represent here, which will become quite substantial.”

Leslie Scott, spokeswoman for AA, said that the carrier cannot comment on the ongoing case.

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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