(WASHINGTON)—The American Federation of Government Employees today learned that it won a gender and disability discrimination case that it brought against the Transportation Security Administration on behalf of a former transportation security screener from San Diego International Airport. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently ruled in favor of the complainant and also ruled to sanction TSA for numerous failures in its responsibility to process the case.
“Representatives of the Transportation Security Administration consistently have asserted through their actions and their words that the TSA is above the laws of the United States. This decision clearly reaffirms that no agency may violate the laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace,” said Gony Frieder, the AFGE attorney who represented the screener. “Discrimination is not in the public interest nor is it in the interest of national security.”
Frieder explained that in addition to discriminating against her client, the TSA refused to cooperate with the EEOC at every step of the case. The decision notes seven ways in which the TSA delayed the case by refusing to follow federal regulations and the order of the EEOC judge.
AFGE brought two complaints against the TSA, the first relating to TSA’s refusal to accommodate the reasonable requests of the screener for regularly scheduled breaks during her pregnancy. The screener, who suffered from gestational diabetes, requested regularly scheduled breaks so that she could monitor her blood sugar level and take any needed actions so as to protect the fetus. TSA refused her requests, despite the fact that the agency allows screeners at least one 15 minute break per shift. The complainant then took an unpaid leave of absence for the remainder of her pregnancy so as to protect the health of her unborn child. The second complaint relates to the screener’s failure to receive the promotion despite being told by TSA managers that she was qualified and that the application process was basically a formality, and despite the fact that other screeners, who happened to be male, were promoted even though they were no more qualified than she. The screener applied for a promotion to a lead position after working in an acting lead position for more than five months. It was not until the screener was on her unpaid maternity leave that she learned that her request for promotion had been denied.