Airport Worker Fired For Calling A Passenger Ugly

Neal Strassner, a frequent passenger at New York’s Greater Rochester International Airport, claims that an airport security officer handed him a torn note as he walked through a metal detector. After he passed through airport security and began walking away, he says the airport employee yelled at him, “You going to open the note?” He opened the note to find only two words written: “you ugly!”  Strassner said, "I was more confused than anything . . . I kind of just looked at it and thought, 'That was weird.'"

Strassner Complains and TSA Responds 

When Strassner traveled back to the airport on his return trip, he met with an airport supervisor. He got the impression that the supervisor didn’t believe his story. After TSA never followed up with him about this incident, Strassner located the airport security footage online that shows the moment when the airport worker handed him the note. He posted the video to Reddit, and TSA contacted him within 2 hours. He attributes this speedy response to, “the power of the internet.” After contacting Strassner, the TSA put out a public statement, saying the organization “holds contractors to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for this type of behavior . . . this instance, which involved a contract employee, was investigated immediately upon receiving the complaint by the traveler. The employee has since been terminated by the contractor.” Strassner said that this incident will not negatively affect his view of the airport, which he said is one of his favorites in the country.

When Is Termination Wrongful?

Flying is already stressful enough without insults being hurled at you from the airport employees. Most people would agree that terminating this employee was the reasonable thing to do. However, an employer can’t fire workers for any reason. Wrongful termination happens when an employee is fired for illegal reasons, such as discrimination, or when the reason for termination violates company policy. Discrimination occurs when an employee is fired due to race, nationality, religion, gender, or age. If you are an at-will employee, your employer can terminate you without a reason, but you still cannot be terminated for one of these illegal reasons. Another illegal reason for termination concerns whistleblowers. This includes being fired for complaining about workplace issues or for refusing to commit an illegal act when asked to by an employer. If you are not sure if you have been terminated wrongfully, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney.

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you think you have been wrongfully terminated, seek legal assistance today. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.