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View Full Version : Flight Instructors Should Sue!!


dsmith
01-14-2015, 05:05 PM
Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to post some information on here regarding how flight schools pay their flight instructors and how what they are doing is often illegal. My Friend quit his job as a flight instructor a couple months ago and went into a regional but he spoke with an attorney about how the flight school classified him as an independent contractor.

My buddy was required to have a set work schedule for 8 hours where he would be at the flight school to give instruction. However, he would only be paid for the actual flight hours of instruction. He was then required to claim a 1099 form.

The attorney said this is clearly misclassification and he is entitled to be paid for each hour he is required to be at work plus penalties and damages.

This entire industry works against pilots at all levels and I'm sick of being paid **** and treated horribly. I also work as a flight instructor in southern california and I almost have my hours to move up to regional. Once I do, I am suing this flight school.

Sorry for the rant, just wanted to let you guys know.

Also if any of you are considering suing your flight school the attorney's name is Andrew (not sure about last name). He is in san diego and his number is (six one nine) three five four - four six four one. I don't know his website though, sorry.

Hope this helps anyone in a similar situation.

-dsmith


rickair7777
01-14-2015, 05:26 PM
Be careful!

You're on moral high ground but there are real downsides....

1. Any previous aviation employer can easily torpedo you career by giving you a bad reference. May not matter at the regional level but with the way hiring is expected to keep moving you might be interviewing at a major faster than you think...they will generally scrutinize everything about your past.

2. Lawsuits are public record. Employers in general don't like to hire people who make a habit of suing past employers...they assume they'll be next up. Again majors will scrutinize your past.

You have to weigh the revenge factor and whatever money you stand to win vs. possible career setbacks. Such setbacks are measured in lost years at the END of your career, when you'll likely be making $200K+...you're still going to do all the dues paying early on but if you get delayed 3-5 years, well you do the math.

Food for thought.

Also, I'm an ex SOCAL CFI, please pmail me the name of the schools in question. Just curious, I don't have any ties to them.

Cubdriver
01-15-2015, 06:11 AM
Rick's advice is 100% valid, but we also have to take a stand on what's right and what's wrong. Don't sell out all the time. This poster is demurring at what amounts to a systemic, deeply-seated, pernicious problem with an entire industry in this country, that of entry-level commercial aviation. This SOCAL flight school is just one bad player in a herd of bad players all participating in the same modus operandi- the standard MO is to imply career advancement as a sole reason to swap for pretty much everything a person has to offer- ethics, money, time, labor, dreams, hope, safety, lifestyle, location, you name it. The entire low end of aviation in this country is infested with this type of exploitation and it hinges entirely on an iffy, implied promise that one day you'll get to be a mainline pilot making 6 figures.

Like Rick says think hard about suing this school because you may give up your spotless record of non-litigation. If you do, you definitely have a good battle that ought to be fought by someone somewhere, and probably will be sooner or later. Whether you want to be that person is a choice only you can make.


doublerjay
01-15-2015, 07:30 AM
You should have never taken a job that REQUIRES you to be there 8 hours a day and only pay's you per flight hour...
If you thought that was bad, wait till you get your regional job....

rickair7777
01-15-2015, 08:04 AM
You should have never taken a job that REQUIRES you to be there 8 hours a day and only pay's you per flight hour...
If you thought that was bad, wait till you get your regional job....

It's legal at the regionals...whatever the union agreed to overrides normal labor laws. Exception is minimum wage...in most or all states, if your income divided by your duty hours (not counting regular reserve time spent at home) is less than minimum wage the company has to make up the difference. If you care, keep a spreadsheet of your duty hours vs. pay (I think it would need to be on a monthly basis) and after your first year you can then collect from the company. They won't just hand it over, you'll probably have to go to the state labor board to force the issue, but people do it. Unless you work at Lakes or the like, this would only realistically apply to first year pay.

rickair7777
01-15-2015, 08:08 AM
Rick's advice is 100% valid, but we also have to take a stand on what's right and what's wrong. Don't sell out all the time. This poster is demurring at what amounts to a systemic, deeply-seated, pernicious problem with an entire industry in this country, that of entry-level commercial aviation. This SOCAL flight school is just one bad player in a herd of bad players all participating in the same modus operandi- the standard MO is to imply career advancement as a sole reason to swap for pretty much everything a person has to offer- ethics, money, time, labor, dreams, hope, safety, lifestyle, location, you name it. The entire low end of aviation in this country is infested with this type of exploitation and it hinges entirely on an iffy, implied promise that one day you'll get to be a mainline pilot making 6 figures.

Like Rick says think hard about suing this school because you may give up your spotless record of non-litigation. If you do, you definitely have a good battle that ought to be fought by someone somewhere, and probably will be sooner or later. Whether you want to be that person is a choice only you can make.

Given the hiring outlook, there's probably never been a better time for CFI's to force this issue, but there would still be risk for the ringleaders.

Might be better off with a class-action suit on behalf of multiple CFIs. This would make retaliation a bit more difficult since it would be hard to explain bad references for ALL of your former employees.

Cubdriver
01-15-2015, 08:19 AM
I wonder what NAFI thinks about this subject. Also, AOPA is host to a ton of domestic flight instructors, and they are pretty litigious. My guess is they have both looked at it already, but I believe AOPA tries to steer clear of labor issues.

BoilerUP
01-15-2015, 08:40 AM
Welcome to aviation, where every airline requires you to be on duty for X hours but only pays you for Y hours you are flying.



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