09192019What's Hot:

‘Nut Rage’ Whistle-Blower Says Korean Air Retaliated Against Him

SEOUL, South Korea — The whistle-blower who exposed the actions of the Korean Air chairman’s daughter who forced a plane to return to its gate in a tiff over macadamia nuts is suing her and the airline, accusing them of illegally demoting and ostracizing him.

“My case illustrates how those who say no to economic power in South Korea come under a systematic attack from their organization,” the whistle-blower, Park Chang-jin, said during a news conference on Monday. “I hope my case will help our society to think about the dignity and rights of common workers.”

The 2014 episode, which became known as a case of “nut rage,” led to international condemnation and ridicule of the chairman’s daughter, Cho Hyun-ah, after she became angry that a first-class flight attendant served the nuts without first asking her, then in an unopened package rather than on a plate, according to court documents.

Ms. Cho was vice president at the company at the time.

Mr. Park, who was the chief flight attendant on the plane, had said that Ms. Cho forced him and the junior attendant who served the nuts to apologize on their knees, “like slaves in a medieval era.” She used abusive language and threw documents at one of the flight attendants, prosecutors had said.

Still not satisfied, Ms. Cho stopped the Korean Air plane while it was taxiing at Kennedy International Airport in New York and forced it to return to the gate so that Mr. Park could be removed.

Photo

Cho Hyun-ah, the former Korean Air vice president, in 2014. Credit Lee Jin-Man/Associated Press

Mr. Park took a leave of absence to recover from a psychological trauma. And when he returned to work in May of last year, Korean Air demoted him from cabin crew chief to flight attendant, citing what it called his poor English. He and his lawyers said the demotion was an illegal retaliation against his whistle-blowing.

Source: NYT > World

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