Alleged TSA favoritism and hostile work environment under probe

Jeff Roberson/AP

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will launch an evaluation of the Transportation Security Administration’s work environment after complaints of hostility and poor management, EEOC announced.

The federal anti-discrimination agency will conduct its own investigation following an October report from the Homeland Security Department’s  inspector general. DHS is TSA’s parent agency. The report showed “rampant” workplace favoritism and a failure to properly handle EEO complaints.

EEOC assisted in the DHS IG investigation but has decided to conduct its own evaluation in light of the auditors’ findings.

“I am encouraged that the EEOC agreed with my assessment of the inspector general’s findings and will conduct an investigation of possible discrimination at TSA and review any possible non-compliance with federal workplace protections,” Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said in a statement. “These protections were put in place for a reason -- and we cannot allow discriminatory practices to undermine TSA’s critical mission of securing this nation against the terrorist threat.”

EEOC warned that it is understaffed and -- with only four full-time evaluation unit employees, in addition to other priorities -- may not be able to get begin its investigation until later in the year.

TSA said, despite ongoing complaints, it already has policies in place to prevent and deal with workplace discrimination.

“TSA absolutely does not tolerate workplace discrimination,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman. “Easily accessible established processes remain in place for employees to address any concerns related to possible discrimination. Multiple levels of controls in existing policy and procedures ensure independence and objectivity.”

The DHS IG recommended TSA create an independent review panel to review allegations of improper personnel actions, but TSA declined to do so. 

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