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Boeing Whistleblower Said He Was Being Harassed and Humiliated Before Death

Earlier this month, former Boeing worker John Barnett was found dead by officials in Charleston, South Carolina, the result of what officials said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His body was recovered in a car parked in a hotel lot amid his testimony against his former employer.

Barnett's mysterious death couldn't have happened at a worse time for his former employer, with Boeing continuously making headlines for its repeatedly malfunctioning planes.

Now, local Charleston news station WCSC has obtained a redacted version of the lawsuit Barnett filed against the aerospace giant back in 2017, shedding more light on the company's alleged retaliation and tactics to keep Barnett quiet.

According to the documents, Barnett was "separated from his team and moved to other areas in the plant, and blacklisted and blocked from transferring to other Boeing divisions."

"In addition, he was subjected to a gaslighting campaign in which he was harassed, denigrated, humiliated, and treated with scorn and contempt by upper management, which was calculated to discourage him and others from raising such issues and complying with the law," the filing reads. "Based on the totality of the circumstances, such conduct amounted to a hostile work environment and it led to Barnett’s constructive discharge."

Barnett retired in 2017 after working at Boeing for 30 years. While at the company, he noticed how "parts were being stolen from one airplane and installed on an incomplete airplane without any documentation, traceability or engineering review," according to the filings.

The lawsuit singles out an incident in 2012 when a supervisor allegedly pushed him to "work outside the proper procedures," but "no investigation was conducted."

Given the latest evidence, there's likely at least some truth to Barnett's allegations.

The Federal Aviation Administration has since found multiple issues with Boeing's production practices, following an audit that was triggered by a "door plug" that was ripped out of the fuselage of an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 jet, forcing pilots to make an emergency landing in January.

"The FAA identified non-compliance issues in Boeing’s manufacturing process control, parts handling and storage, and product control," the FAA wrote in a March statement.

A separate FAA report issued in February by a panel of industry experts criticized the company for failing to live up to its promises when it comes to safety.

Even the circumstances surrounding his death have since been called into question, hinting at the albeit unlikely possibility of foul play.

For instance, Barnett's attorney Brian Knowles told the blog Corporate Crime Reporter, that he "didn't see any indication" of suicide risk. "No one can believe it."

Others close to the whistleblower have echoed those sentiments as well.

"I said, 'Aren't you scared?'" a woman, who identified herself as a friend of Barnett's, told South Carolina's ABC4 News last week. "And he said, 'No, I ain't scared, but if anything happens to me, it's not suicide.'"

More on Barnett: Boeing Whistleblower's Attorneys Say They "Didn't See Any Indication" of Suicide Risk