TSA Worker Appeals Termination for Refusing to Search Passengers

July 24, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A worker for the Transportation Security Administration filed a suit against the agency when he was fired for refusing to transfer jobs from inspecting baggage to conducting passenger pat-down searches.

According to Govexec.com, L.J. Coon claims the agency infringed on his rights by ignoring his religious and personal objections to transferring positions. Coon says that the searches are intrusive and violate his Methodist beliefs.

The New Hampshire worker alleges that his managers met his objections to transferring jobs with sarcasm; one suggesting that Coon “wear four pairs of gloves” to alleviate his worry about patting down passengers, according to the news service. He also claims that TSA managers said they reserved the authority to change workers’ job responsibilities at any time.

After the agency requested Cook resign, he said he was fired in September 2005.

Coon appeals attempt has failed four times, and he is now bringing the suit to the state’s Supreme Court. The court has not decided whether it will hear his appeal.

According to Govexec.com, Arnold Rocklin-Weare, chairman of the New Hampshire Employment Security Appeal Tribunal, said in a December 2005 decision that Coon “cannot claim that there was a substantial change in working conditions [from] when he was first hired, because the generic title he was hired for included both positions.” Coon also waited too long to file his case, failing to “exercise his right of appeal during his job loss process,” the decision stated.