A former senior Alaska Airlines pilot who was fired earlier this year after a female co-pilot sued the airline, alleging that the captain drugged and raped her during a June 2017 work trip, has filed a lawsuit of his own against his accuser and the carrier. The aviator, who flew for Alaska for 22 years, claims he was wrongly terminated amid “false #MeToo claims” in a “negligent, flawed investigation.”
Paul Engelien filed the lawsuit against former First Officer Betty Pina after the 40-year-old woman claimed the captain, 51, drugged and raped her during a layover on a work trip to Minnesota in June 2017, the Seattle Times reported on Nov. 2.
According to Engelien’s litigation, Pina falsely invented the claims of sexual assault in order to avoid “workplace discipline” given her status as a probationary employee. The former military pilots were subjected to a “routine, internal” alcohol-consumption violation investigation by Alaska regarding their actions on the trip.
Officials at Alaska believed that the pair may have violated the airline’s ten-hour alcohol rule during layover, which prohibits pilots from consuming alcohol within ten hours of duty.
“Pina’s false claims defamed Engelien, invaded his privacy, decimated his life and career, and caused him severe distress,” Engelien’s lawsuit states, arguing that Alaska’s human resources advisor lead a “negligent, flawed and pretextual [internal] investigation” regarding the claims.
The lawsuit also states that Pina was previously involved in a similar incident during her time working for Alaska in May 2017, during which she reportedly “drank too much, blacked out, then later blamed others,” the Times reports.
According to Pina’s LinkedIn profile, she now flies for a Hawaii-based carrier.