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April 8, 2016

Congress Investigates TSA for Alleged Retaliation against Whistleblowers

The House Oversight Committee is currently investigating the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for allegedly retaliating against multiple employees who had attempted to blow the whistle on the Administration’s alleged failures.

Sparked by reports that TSA authorities regularly ignored reports of flagrant security breaches, this investigation is specifically focused on determining whether top TSA officials penalized the whistleblowers who reported these breaches – and, if so, the nature and extent of the TSA’s alleged culture of retaliation, discrimination and harassment.

Background on the Retaliation Allegations

According to the House Oversight Committee, the first whistleblower to come forward in this case was an assistant federal security director at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, who reported that top TSA officials at his airport had disregarded reports of security breaches and had, nevertheless, been given hefty bonuses.

Examples of these security lapses included (but were not exclusive to) TSA agents:

  • Failing to tag luggage that had already been through screening
  • Failing to detect weapons passing through TSA checkpoints
  • Allowing convicted felons and other possible security threats to pass through expedited screening lines.

When the man brought his allegations to the attention of authorities at TSA headquarters, top TSA officials reportedly tried to transfer the man to a position in Tampa. In fact, an internal TSA memo from January 2015 that was uncovered as a result of this investigation indicated that the man’s supervisors were specifically pushing for the transfer because of the man’s “contacts [at] and loyalty [to]” TSA agents as the St. Paul airport.

This job transfer, the man alleges, was a form of retaliation. As the man has explained:

I was going through a divorce [at the time] and was not going to give up custody of my kid… [TSA officials] knew they couldn’t fire me. They were hoping that the relocation would make me quit.

Since this whistleblower has stepped forward and Congress kicked off its investigation, other TSA employees have also come forward to report security lapses and the agency’s alleged retaliatory and discriminatory practices.

Commenting on the ongoing investigation, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has explained:

The committee’s review of documents provided by T.S.A., and information provided by current and former T.S.A. employees, gave rise to concerns that T.S.A.’s highly discretionary compensation practices are vulnerable to abuse.

Officials have yet to issue a comment on the retaliation allegations. As more news about this investigation becomes available, we’ll report the latest updates to you here, in a future blog. Until then, share your comments about this investigation with us on Facebook.

Contact a Los Angeles Employment Law Attorney at the Azadian Law Group, PC

If you are ready to blow the whistle on an employer’s illegal actions – or if you have been the target of an employer’s retaliation or discrimination, contact a Los Angeles employment law attorney at the Azadian Law Group, PC for a free case to review to find out more about your options for recovery and justice.

You can call us at 626-449-4944 or send us an email via this contact form to find out more about how we can help you. If you choose to move forward with us, you will not have to pay us any legal fees until or unless compensation is secured for your case.

From offices based in Pasadena, our attorneys provide exceptional legal service and representation to people throughout Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, San Diego County and the state of California.



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