Former Blue Origin Rocket Engine Manager Alleges Wrongful Termination for Whistleblowing on Safety

A former Blue Origin rocket engine manager has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging wrongful termination after he spoke up about safety concerns. The complaint, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, alleges that Craig Stoker was fired in retaliation for reporting safety violations and ethical issues to company executives.

Stoker, who worked as the program manager for Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engines, claims that he observed numerous safety concerns over his seven months at the company. These concerns included:

  • Employees being pressured to meet unrealistic deadlines, even if it meant cutting corners on safety procedures.
  • A hostile work environment where employees were afraid to speak up about safety concerns for fear of being retaliated against.
  • A lack of proper training and documentation for employees on safety protocols.
  • Concerns about the quality control of certain engine parts.

Stoker alleges that he brought these concerns to the attention of two company vice presidents in May 2022. However, he claims that his concerns were ignored and that he was later subjected to retaliation, including being excluded from meetings and having his workload increased.

In the lawsuit, Stoker claims that he was fired in October 2022 in retaliation for his whistleblowing. He is seeking unspecified damages for lost wages, emotional distress, and punitive damages.

Blue Origin has denied the allegations in the lawsuit, calling them “false and defamatory.” The company has stated that Stoker was terminated for poor performance and a violation of company policies.

This is not the first time that Blue Origin has been accused of putting profits over safety. In 2019, the company was fined by the Federal Aviation Administration for failing to properly disclose a safety hazard with one of its rockets.

The allegations in Stoker’s lawsuit have raised concerns about the safety culture at Blue Origin. Some experts have called for an independent investigation into the company’s safety practices.

The outcome of Stoker’s lawsuit could have a significant impact on Blue Origin’s future. If the company is found to have retaliated against an employee for whistleblowing, it could face serious financial and reputational damage.

Blue Origin is one of the leading companies in the private space industry. The company is developing a variety of rockets and spacecraft, including the BE-4 engine that is being used for the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket.

The allegations in Stoker’s lawsuit could also have a broader impact on the space industry. The industry has been under increasing scrutiny in recent years following a number of high-profile accidents.

Stoker’s case is being closely watched by employees in the space industry and by regulators. The outcome of the case could set a precedent for how companies handle whistleblowing allegations in the future.

It is important to note that these are just allegations, and Blue Origin has denied any wrongdoing. However, the lawsuit has raised serious concerns about the safety culture at the company. It is important that these concerns are addressed in order to ensure the safety of employees and the public.

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