She may be a lone voice, but she is not alone in her claims of sexual harassment and discrimination at the hands of former male supervisors at the Transportation Security Administration. The question a woman now faces in staking a claim to a federal job she says she has a right to is what legal lengths to take to achieve her mission.
She lacks no experience in that latter area. Before she landed her job at TSA headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C., she did tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq. You can be sure that those credentials qualify her to recognize sexual harassment when it happens and to respond to it according to standing government rules.
She left the army honorably, a decorated war veteran. Yet, while her story indicates she has followed all the regulations to counter the indignities she says she suffered at the TSA, she is out of work. Today, she spends some of her days conducting a one-person protest outside TSA headquarters in Virginia. That alone might be enough to draw attention from officials and the public, but she is also a beautiful woman and conducts her one-person march in a smart dress and high heels. As she points out, it shouldn’t matter, but it does.
Many say her story is common. She first started working for the agency as a contractor and eventually landed a full-time position on a probationary basis in 2014. While working as an executive assistant for one of the TSA’s deputy administrators, it’s alleged that she and other women suffered sexually demeaning remarks from another high-ranking official.
When it became too much, records indicate she complained and found herself demoted. Then, five days before the end of her probation period, she was fired. The TSA says it can prove it went by the book.
Suffering unwanted overtures from coworkers is not part of the description of any federal government job. And such suffering doesn’t have to be done in silence. In this woman’s case, formal complaints have been made and action is pending. In the meantime, she says she plans to continue her one-person protest.