A former Southwest Airlines Co. employee is suing the airline, alleging he was wrongfully fired earlier this year after complaining about an unsafe training session involving a life raft.

Nicholas Paul Newbould’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit also alleges whistleblower retaliation and harassment based on sex and gender. He maintains he was told he was being fired after a male co-worker accused him of sexual harassment when it was the plaintiff himself who was the victim of such misconduct by the fellow employee.

A Southwest Airlines representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Friday.

Newbould, 46, was hired on Jan. 16 as an inflight supervisor and started his training in March, the suit states. A male co-worker made a sexually inappropriate remark that month and a day later told the plaintiff that he “really liked him,” which was followed by the man sending Newbould an offensive video, the suit states.

The co-worker apologized after Newbould told him that he was married and that his conduct was inappropriate, the suit states. But the fellow employee resumed the alleged harassment two days later by asking the plaintiff out, to which Newbould responded that he would only do so in a group setting, the suit states.

Newbould ultimately told the co-worker that his alleged advances had to stop and to leave him alone, according to the suit.

Shortly thereafter, Newbould began his third week of training that involved a life raft exercise, the suit states. Newbould watched a previous group of trainees and believed that the life raft should have been deflated, then reinflated before the next group used it, but the instructor was dismissive of his concerns, the suit states.

That same day, Newbould began instructing other trainees on how to distribute themselves on the raft in order to stabilize it, but the instructor told him to “keep quiet” because the plaintiff was not a trainer himself, the suit alleges.

A hole in the raft caused it to begin to fill with water and Newbould told the trainees that they needed to evacuate, the suit states. But the instructor told the trainees on the raft that they had to complete the exercise, prompting Newbould to inform the instructor he would report what happened to the FAA, the suit states.

An FAA representative told Newbould to obtain more witness statements to support his complaint and to submit them to the agency, so the plaintiff spoke with other trainees from the raft exercise to get their comments, the suit states. Several trainees who took part in the raft exercise said they were injured, but that they were afraid to report them, according to the suit, which further states that Newbould sent an email to a raft exercise instructor about what he witnessed that day.

Later that day, however, Newbould was accused of sexual harassment by the same co-worker who had allegedly harassed the plaintiff, the suit states. Newbould sent Southwest’s human resources department an email that included text messages and the sexually explicit video that the fellow employee allegedly sent the plaintiff, evidence that showed Newbould was the one who was sexually harassed, the suit states.

However, Newbould was fired April 4 for alleged inappropriate behavior outlined in Southwest’s anti-harassment policy, the suit states. The firing took place less than a week after Newbould complained about the alleged unsafe raft exercise, which he alleges is the real reason he was stripped of his job.

Newbould has suffered financial losses, a chance to advance in his profession and damage to his reputation, the suit states.

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