posted by: Deborah Sherman Date last updated: 4/21/2009 2:33:28 PM Smaller Larger Print Article Close Page
DENVER - U.S. Senator Mark Udall has asked the Transportation Security Administration to review screeners' claims of discrimination, favoritism and character assassination inside Denver International Airport following a 9Wants to Know investigation.
"For an organization charged with the serious responsibility of providing security and screening for passengers around the nation, the allegations should be taken seriously and the involved parties resolve the situation quickly and in the most appropriate manner," wrote U.S. Senator Udall, (D-Colo.), in a letter to acting TSA administrator Gale Rossides.
Udall wrote the letter after 9NEWS interviewed dozens of former and current TSA security screeners who describe a hostile work environment where they are treated poorly by managers.
According to an internal report about upper management leaders at DIA obtained by 9NEWS, screeners say there's an "inflexible style of authoritarian, top-down, non-collaborative management." The report also says screeners believe, "he who accuses first, wins. Character assassination is a primary means of upward mobility."
Duane Brown, who was a screener at DIA from 2002 to 2006, says once managers decided they wanted him gone, they did everything they could to make him leave, including following him around on bathroom breaks to make sure he returned within the minute to work.
"It was very hard to go to work there every day because I never knew what was coming or where it was coming from," said Brown. "It was a harsh work environment, I felt as if I were targeted. It got to a point where it was total lawlessness."
Brown, who filed an EEOC complaint and lost, has appealed his case to the commission.
Screener Jean Broida joined the TSA after September 11th but quit in 2003 because she says managers wouldn't let her do her job.
"I was a member of the fourth training class, full of patriotism and within one month, they stripped me of my enthusiasm," said Broida. "I was being run out of the organization as many others were who didn't have a military or law enforcement background. It was political moves, it had nothing to do with airport security. I called it evil."
Several screeners told 9NEWS they were too concerned about watching their backs than watching out for dangerous passengers and luggage.
"TSA has an extremely important mission and any conduct from that may distract from its ultimate purpose of transportation security should be resolved to maintain the highest level of trust from the American people," wrote Udall.
Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter, (D-Colo.), asked the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee to hold hearings to investigate the allegations about threats, attacks and harassment at DIA. The Homeland Security Committee has not yet responded to his request.
The TSA did not return calls for comment about this story.
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