NEWS

TSA Strengthens Whistleblower Protections

By Matthew Harwood

Transportation security officers that see wrongdoing or negligence on the job may feel more comfortable reporting such behavior, as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) yesterday announced it has enhanced its whistleblower protections.

According to TSA, whistleblowers who feel that they have been retaliated against can now appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, an independent, quasi-judicial agency in the Executive branch.

Under the current system, lawyers from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel investigate whistleblower retaliation complaints and then recommend whether the TSA should take corrective or disciplinary action or both when appropriate. The agreement yesterday allows transportation security workers one more avenue of appeal as an additional layer of protection.

Chairman Neil A. G. McPhie said his board's third party review should increase the confidence of security workers to come forward when experiencing or witnessing abuse.

Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH) praised the agreement, saying, "I congratulate TSA and MSPB on their efforts to strengthen whistleblower protection rights for the people who work every day to protect our airlines and transportation infrastructure."

TSA says their security officers protect more than 2 million passengers at 450 airports nationwide every day.

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