Boeing whistleblower's family says 'hostile work environment' to blame for death

Barnett said Boeing had "a culture of concealment and was putting profits over safety."

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
The family of the Boeing whistleblower who allegedly committed suicide while in the process of testifying in a lawsuit against the aircraft manufacturer has spoken out, blaming his death on a "hostile work environment."

John Barnett, 62, was found in his truck outside a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina on Saturday, dead as a result of what the coroner deemed to be a "self-inflicted" gunshot.

"He was suffering from PTSD and anxiety attacks as a result of being subjected to the hostile work environment at Boeing which we believe led to his death," family members told the New York Post.

They explained that Barnett changed "when he learned that upper management was pressuring the quality inspectors and managers to cut corners and to not follow processes and procedures which they were required by law to follow," adding that those who dared to push back against the allegedly shoddy workmanship "were labeled as trouble-makers, retaliated against, and subjected to a hostile work environment."

"He was deeply concerned about the safety of the aircraft and flying public, and had identified some serious defects that he felt were not adequately addressed," his family continued, noting that he felt as though, "Boeing had a culture of concealment and was putting profits over safety."

They said it eventually "caused him so much stress that his doctor told him that if he stayed, he would have a heart attack."

Barnett had been a quality manager at Boeing for over three decades, but it was after Barnett was transferred to the Charleston, SC plant, where the 787 Dreamliner is built, that his concerns began to grow.

In 2019, he told the BBC that the assembly process was rushed, with workers deliberately using sub-standard parts. He also claimed to have uncovered problems with the emergency oxygen system. Boeing later denied all the allegations.

Over the past few months, Boeing has been in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, with its planes suffering from numerous malfunctions such as entire panels or wheels blowing off mid-flight.

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