Helping David fight Goliath: engineer prevails over Boeing legal team with help from the Washington Civil Rights Council
Seattle, WA — October 1, 2023. When Bruce, a Boeing engineer, was terminated in the fall of 2021 for not agreeing to the experimental vaccine requirement, no attorney he contacted agreed to take the case because it was COVID related. He thought about launching a fight against Boeing’s legal team on his own, without representation, but this seemed insurmountable. Bruce and his wife did not know if they could overcome the mountain of unknown traps and legal tactic treachery they would end up dealing with, nor did they have the unique language needed to craft legal arguments. To add insult to injury, the COVID landscape made it even more difficult as it appeared the entire ‘employment matters’ legal sector had vanished or was unavailable.
Fortunately, Bruce came across a small “not-for-profit” organization called the Washington Civil Rights Council (“WCRC”). This volunteer group set out, through both live local presentations and online social platforms, to inform thousands around Washington about laws regarding bodily autonomy and medical privacy, as well as the law surrounding Covid workplace policies. WCRC was trying to fill the gap, attempting to make the legal process understandable to average folks and to give them the confidence either to educate their employers about the legal risks of Covid workplace mandates or launch into legal action if necessary.
WCRC realized early on that two things are needed to launch an effective legal fight. One, a person must have a clear understanding of the laws or statutes in the specific area where personal injury or damages occur. Those who gain this understanding through self-education can have confidence in their arguments but can still get lost in the engagement with the opposition and the court system. So, secondly, one also needs to understand legal procedure–the “how to” navigate litigation (an area lawyers know best). WCRC helps people with both these elements in Zoom calls, occasionally bringing in actual lawyers for advice, and offering support and document review by other litigants who have already gone through the same process.
With help along the way from WCRC, Bruce and his wife, who has a knack for research, took a leap of faith and filed a lawsuit in the fall of 2022. They fought Boeing’s legal team with vigor. They did many things right that stacked the deck on their side. For example, early on, Bruce had submitted WCRC’s Constructive Legal Notice to the human resources department about the unlawful practices that Boeing was engaging in with its vaccine mandate. Bruce and his wife documented in detail every action, every email, every workplace conversation they had with Boeing HR, and they also kept/copied every letter and email that led up to Bruce’s wrongful termination.
As they went back and forth with Boeing’s legal team, Bruce and Joan also leveraged their intensive research on Boeing employment policy, including grievance rights and requirement for interactive discussions and the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) rights for employees. They corresponded with Boeing’s legal team only by email, allowing them time to craft thoughtful responses during each round of interaction. They observed and effectively countered the slippery tactics and intimidation that lawyers like to use against pro se litigants. Using only email allowed them to research the opposition’s claims and false statements without the pressure they would experience in having to respond in real time on a phone call with a crafty lawyer. Sticking to the facts and displaying a clear knowledge of the law in their communications, the engineer and his wife got the justice that they were looking for—a sizeable settlement!
As a bonus, WCRC and its members learned extensively from Bruce and Joan’s experience. Bruce’s play-by-play report on their fight with Boeing’s legal team took the mystery out of what the process might look like for other pro se litigants against their former employers. Overall, WCRC found that, indeed, “the Law is on our side” and that employers and their legal teams seek to avoid trial. In the courtroom, the facts of the case and the employer’s unlawful actions would go on the public record for all to see, and this would set a precedent the employers definitely like to avoid.
For more information: Contact Washington Civil Rights Council at WCRC@protonmail.com or visit website at WCRC.us.