One-Handed Man, Suing the TSA for Discrimination

Michael Costantino, One-Handed Man, Suing the TSA for Discrimination

by AOL Travel Staff Subscribe to AOL Travel Staff’s postsPosted Jul 28th 2011 09:40 AM

CBS New York

A man born without his right hand is suing the Transportation Security Administration after he believed the agency unfairly rejected him for a job, reports the Associated Press.

Michael Costantino, 32 and an amateur boxer, applied for a TSA job at New York’s LaGuardia Airport about 18 months ago. After clearing a background check, interviewing and passing an initial test whereby applicants pick out weapons on an X-ray screen, Costantino left his interview thinking he’d landed the gig. His missing hand was never brought up, he says.

But, after a medical exam, which the TSA says is conducted by an outside company, Costantino was informed that he was disqualified because of his disability. He has since filed a complaint with the TSA charging the agency with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“They just made an assumption that he can’t perform this job simply because he doesn’t have a right hand – without any evidence to support it,” Costantino’s lawyer, Jonathan Bell told the New York Daily News.

Costantino was reportedly never asked to demonstrate his ability to perform tasks an airport screener might be required to do.

According to the Daily News, the TSA charged that Costantino could not conduct patdown searches using his palms or the backs of his hands, nor could he open zippers or snaps, record baggage tag information in logs, inspect pillboxes etc., according to their doctors.

“Anyone that knows me knows it’s ridiculous for them to say I can’t open luggage,” Constantino told the paper. “I’ve fought in the Golden Gloves. I work out with former world champions. Opening luggage would be pretty easy for me.”

The TSA could not comment, but said its rules require job applicants to “possess basic aptitudes and physical abilities, including color perception, visual and aural acuity, physical coordination, and motor skills,” according to the AP.


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