TSA Agrees to Review Guidelines in HIV Settlement Case
The Transportation Security Administration has agreed to reevaluate its medical guidelines for job applicants as part of its settlement in a case involving an HIV positive man denied a position with the federal agency.
Michael Lamarre applied online for a job as a baggage screener at a Florida airport in the spring of 2008. After almost a year of vetting, the TSA ultimately rejected Lamarre’s application once he disclosed his HIV status. The government entity said that despite a physician’s approval, the Air Force veteran’s health could be compromised while on the job.
So with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, Lamarre filed a complaint against the TSA saying it was in violation of its OWN non-discrimination policy. The two parties finally reached an agreement last week.
Lamarre’s attorney Rose Saxe tells OutQ News that while specific terms of the settlement are confidential, the ACLU and the TSA “had a cooperative relationship.” The agency will now review its medical guidelines for prospective employees.
In the meantime, Lamarre says he’s been working at a hair care supplies company that takes him all over South Florida. But he says he may consider re-applying to the agency that started this two-year ordeal.
LAMARRE: If anything should change with my employment or if I want to not have a job where I travel so much, I would love to have that opportunity to look at the TSA. I still feel that this would be a good way that I could serve my country by working in the government, working for the government agency.
Lamarre adds that he’s in “excellent” health and in “better physical shape now” than ever before.
In a statement to OutQ News, the TSA says it does NOT automatically disqualify HIV-positive applicants for the position Lamarre inquired about, adding that they’ve hired such applicants in the past.
The agency says that while it has agreed to review its guidelines, it admits “no wrongdoing or flaws with its policies.” It adds: “TSA will continue to ensure all officers hired are capable of performing their duties safely, while protecting the security of the flying public.”