Grounded! TSA Refuses to Hire HIV-Positive Vet

The American Civil Liberties Union is filing an appeal for the rejected veteran

By Willard Shepard and Todd Wright
|  Monday, Aug 24, 2009  |  Updated 4:06 AM PDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
TSA Grounds HIV-Positive Applicant

AP

The TSA just says no to HIV.

advertisement
Photos and Videos

TSA Grounds HIV-Positive Applicant

A military veteran is told he can't check bags at the airport because he is HIV positive.
More Photos and Videos

Michael Lamarre came to the TSA looking for work but instead got turned away because of another three letter acronym - HIV.

Lamarre, who served in the United States Air Force, was denied his chance to be a baggage checker at Miami International Airport because of health concerns, a letter from the Transportation Security Administration said.

The rejection letter read: "you did not meet the standards established for this position based on the following medical guideline: HIV." The letter goes on to say officials "determined you could not perform the job safely."

"I thought that this was something of an archaic thought...in the past," Lamarre said.

The TSA says it acted because the screening jobs are physically demanding and its guidelines indicated Michael couldn't screen passengers but might be able to perform other TSA jobs.

The American Civil Liberties Union has taken up the fight and the battle could be headed to court.

Lamarre looks as healthy as an ox to the naked eye and his daily routine would seem to support the fact. He's healthy enough to take 165-mile bike rides and his doctor sent a letter to the TSA declaring him more than healthy to work for the government.

Still, the TSA rejected his application.

"There was no question in my mind that I could perform this job," Lamarre said.

The TSA's hiring policy does not automatically disqualify applicants who are HIV positive and TSA physicians have in fact cleared applicants who are HIV positive, officials said in a statement.

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out