TSA Agrees To
Re-Assess Policies For Job Applicants With HIV
By Daniel Baxter
October 23, 2011 - The Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) agreed this week to review its
medical guidelines for applicants with compromised
immune systems, including people with HIV.
The agreement is part of a settlement between the TSA,
the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of
Florida. In August 2009, the ACLU filed an
administrative complaint on behalf of an Air Force
veteran who was refused a job as a transportation
security officer (TSO) with the TSA because he is
?Not only does this discrimination perpetuate
misconceived notions about people with HIV, it could
create situations where HIV-positive people are forced
to hide their status in order to keep their job or seek
employment,? said Michael Lamarre, who was refused a job
after he disclosed his HIV status for a physical.
Lamarre had otherwise passed a lengthy interview and
screening process. ?If a person feels they could be the
target of discrimination, he may avoid getting tested
and never know his true HIV status, or could delay
much-needed life-saving treatment.?
Lamarre applied for the job in 2008, he was told he was rejected
because his HIV status made him more susceptible to infections
like colds and viruses, and that it was for his own protection.
The TSA based its denial on Lamarre?s T-Cell count and the
medication he was taking, despite assurances to the TSA from his
treating physician that he was perfectly capable of performing
an Air Force veteran who also previously worked for the National
Security Agency, has never had any of the medical conditions
associated with AIDS, and has been able to control his HIV
through medication. There was no doubt that Lamarre, who
annually rides in a two-day, 165 mile bike ride for charity and
has always held a steady job, was healthy enough to perform the
duties of a TSO.
?We are hopeful that TSA?s willingness to settle this case, and its agreement to review its medical guidelines, are indications that in the future the agency will employ practices that reflect what the medical community has known for years ? people with HIV are fully capable of doing their job and can live active and healthy lives,? said Randall Marshall, legal director of the ACLU of Florida. ?All employers, especially our federal agencies, should have policies to ensure that no one is denied the right to earn a living because of their HIV status.?
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