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Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century

Also known as: AIR21; Public Law 106-181

Bill Clinton

Signed into law by Bill Clinton
April 05, 2000

The Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21) was a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. In previous years there were rising concerns with aircraft safety and the practice of nonconforming aircraft parts making their way into aircrafts. The law’s goal is, in part, to bring the aircraft industry into the 21st century, including safety standards. Importantly, the law included the first whistleblower protections available to air industry employees. The law protects employees when they disclose wrongdoing related to orders, regulations, and standards of the Federal Aviation Administration, as well as federal laws related to air carrier safety. Including these protections for this sector of the industry keeps aircraft and passengers safer because employers are held accountable.

Enforcement & Remedies

Under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century (AIR21), employees who suffer illegal workplace retaliation must file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), part of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), within 90 days. OSHA will investigate complaints and can order remedies; employees who are unhappy with the result can appeal to an administrative judge at the DOL, with additional levels of review available within the DOL and in the federal courts. Remedies may include reinstatement, back pay, and compensatory damages.

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Notable sponsors: Bud Shuster   Wendell H. Ford   

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