(Washington)—The Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Disciplinary Review Board (DRB) recently overturned the agency’s decision to remove one of its airport screeners. The DRB decision awarded the appellant, who was represented by the American Federation of Government Employees in his DRB appeal, back pay and the option to return to duty as a screener at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. On his behalf, AFGE successfully argued that the screener was not given sufficient notice of the alleged offense before his termination.
TSA has a policy that requires screeners not to hold delinquencies of greater than $5,000 without proof of adherence to arrangements of payment. In winter of last year, TSA required the appellant to show proof that he was in compliance with TSA’s debt policy due to an alleged debt of $20,812. TSA gave the screener a mere 10 calendar days to supply the evidence, and less than 10 calendar days later, proposed the appellant’s termination for failure to provide an explanation for the alleged indebtedness.
On an appeal to the TSA’s Disciplinary Review Board, AFGE argued that the TSA failed to provide meaningful notice to the screener before termination. First, he was not given sufficient time to respond. Second, he was not progressively disciplined. Third, as the appellant did not actually owe a debt of greater than $5,000 as alleged, he was not on notice that he had to correct any financial wrong. The DRB’s decision adopted many of the points made in appeal.
AFGE is the only union that has actively fought on behalf of employment rights for TSA's screeners. Although screeners remain deprived of a collective bargaining agreement, AFGE represents screeners before the Disciplinary Review Board, EEOC, courts, in Congress and in the media.