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Federal disability law doesn’t cover security screeners

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that airport security screeners are not covered by the federal Rehabilitation Act. That means that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t have to consider disabled applicants or accommodate those who may become disabled while working for the agency as security screeners.

Recent case: TSA screener Verlanie Joren developed a clotting disorder that caused chronic leg pain and bleeding. The condition made it hard for her to walk. She requested several possible accommodations, including transfer to Florida, with its warmer climate.

When the TSA denied her requests, she quit and sued, alleging disability discrimination.

Her case was quickly dismissed. The court reasoned that the Transportation Safety Act, which essentially federalized private security screeners after the terror attacks of 9/11, overrode the earlier Rehabilitation Act. (Joren v. Napolitano, No. 10-1017, 7th Cir., 2011)

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