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TSA's lacks consistent employee discipline process

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has had a 26 percent increase in misconduct over the last two year. The finding was reported by the General Accountability Office (GAO), the agency responsible for oversight of much of what goes on in federal agencies.

The GAO report criticized the TSA for the lack of a consistent method of disciplining employees. The TSA “still does not have a system in place to ensure that allegations of employee misconduct are adjudicated consistently and uniformly. The bulk of employee misconduct cases are handled at the airport level,” Rep. Bennie Thompson said during a congressional hearing.

As with any issue of employment misconduct and disputes involving employee rights in relation to their employment, having a consistent and uniform process is essential. If similarly situated employees are treated differently from one city and airport to the next, the process is rife with the possibility of inconsistent results and abuse.

According to the report, the TSA would have a difficult time knowing exactly what was going on within its own discipline process, as five of seven airports failed to use the TSA's internal database to track misconduct cases.

As employment law attorneys, we appreciate the need for thoughtful, individually tailored assessment of alleged misconduct and other cases involving employment disputes, but we also understand the need for consistent legal process to ensure all employees are treated fairly.

The TSA’s deputy administrator John Halinski, told members of the House Committee on Homeland Security, that the agency had implemented changes, and was working to rectify the deficiencies found by the GAO report.

Source: Washington Post, "TSA promises reform after increase of misconduct cases," Ruth Tam, August 1, 2013

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