Former Boeing Employee Alleges He Faced Nightmarish Treatment in Saudi Arabia

By Tom Bacon

A former Navy pilot was in for an ugly surprise when he left the Navy and was recruited by Boeing to become an instructor for fledgling Saudi Arabian military pilots.

Robin Petersen has made some chilling allegations about Boeing's employment practices in Saudi Arabia, including confiscation of his passport, effective imprisonment in a slum-like housing compound, rampant safety and ethical violations and fraud in his employment contract.

Petersen claims he fell ill in Saudi Arabia but could not get treatment, and later, when he suffered a tear to an achilles tendon, he was not permitted to leave the country and return to the U-S where he could have gotten proper surgical treatment.

After a long and often futile effort to leave Saudi Arabia, Petersen finally got help from the U-S consulate on Jeddah, and one of the first things he did when he got home was to file suit against Boeing.

But he discovered that a second employment agreement he was told to sign when he arrived in Saudi Arabia would force him to try any dispute against Boeing in Saudi Arabia - an employment contract Petersen claims he was not given time to read and forced to sign.

By that time he was broke. He had to act as his own attorney in his suit against Boeing in the U-S. And Boeing lawyers easily got it thrown out.
But three judges of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals told the trial judge she was wrong in dismissing his suit without a hearing. They ruled that Petersen is entitled to a full hearing because of the allegations he raised.

Boeing has flatly denied the charges of fraud and coercion. A spokesperson said Petersen was given a full copy of his employment agreement before he ever left the U.S. for his job in Saudi Arabia.
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