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Cleveland Hopkins whistleblower awarded $425,000

Posted at 7:23 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 19:24:44-04

The City of Cleveland will pay a whistleblower $425,000 to settle a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit regarding snow removal concerns at Cleveland Hopkins International airport.

In 2015, Ali was the airport's airfield-maintenance manager and reported to the FAA that the airport regularly failed to meet FAA-mandated staffing levels for its snow-and-ice removal operations. When the then-airport director found out about his meeting, Ali was demoted.

RELATED: FAA reviewingcomplaintregarding Cleveland Hopkins airport snow removal concerns

Ali reported the retaliation to OSHA, who agreed with him and ordered that he be reinstated to his former position and awarded emotional-distress and attorneys' fees. The FAA went on to impose a record $735,000 civil penalty on Cleveland, which was reduced to $200,000, based on the violation.

Ali filed a second lawsuit in 2017 claiming the airport violated his first amendment rights.

The city settled with Ali on October 5.

According to Ali's attorneys, Chandra Law Firm, Ali will be getting a pay increase of $3,210 and purge his personnel file.

As part of the settlement, the city agreed to abide by all of OSHA's directives and not impair Ali's participation in any federal or state proceedings that may be launched against the former airport director.