Airline Employees Not Liable for Disclosing Threats, but Screeners Can Lose Their Jobs for It

Airline employees are shielded from liability for reporting potential threats to TSA employees, but screeners can be fired for doing the same.

(PRWEB) August 23, 2004 -- How can this be? Is it possible that airline employees at airports can be completely shielded from any liability from reporting suspected security threats while screeners can actually get fired for it? Yes. Incredible but true.

Section 125 of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 (ATSA) amended federal law (49 USC Chapter 449, Subchapter II) by granting "...any employee of an air carrier...who makes a voluntary disclosure of any suspicious any employee or agent of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Justice, any Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer, or any airport or airline security officer shall not be civilly liable to any person under any law or regulation of the United States, any constitution, law, or regulation of any State or political subdivision of any State, for such disclosure."

But section 111 (d) of the ATSA states:

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Under Secretary of Transportation for Security may employ, appoint, discipline, terminate, and fix the compensation, terms, and conditions of employment of Federal service for such a number of individuals as the Under Secretary determines to be necessary..."

The recent decision by the Merit Systems Protection Board states that Board does not have jurisdiction over whistleblower complaints filed by screeners with the Transportation Security Administration. The legal rationale was that the ATSA gives the TSA supreme authority -- without regard to any other federal law -- to terminate employees. What's more, any employees so terminated have no recourse available to them under the law.

So if a screener reports a security violation, threat or anything that management doesn't "appreciate," a screener can be terminated, with apparently no hope of appealing the decision.

To read the full editorial column, go to

For additional information visit the Screeners Central web site at

About Screeners Central
Screeners Central ( is the humorous (and at times irreverent) resource site for America's TSA Screeners. Screeners Central is not affiliated with the Transportation Security Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, or any government agency.

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