TSA Hiring Discrimination Alleged by One-Handed Applicant

Video Transcript

Newscaster:  Tonight, we’re talking about a former boxer.  Take a look right here behind me.  That’s him right there, Michael Costantino.  He’s getting ready to work out here at the gym.  He is telling us tonight that he applied for a job as a security screener at LaGuardia Airport, but he got eliminated, disqualified—just because he has one hand.

32-year-old Michael Costantino knows all about hard work and determination, and he says he has never let the fact that he was born without his right hand hold him back.

Mr. Michael Costantino:  It’s difficult being born without a right hand, but I think I’ve been doing my best with it.

Newscaster:  Now, the former boxer is fighting for the right to work as a TSA security screener at LaGuardia Airport.  He says he passed the interview, the background check, and he thought he also passed the physical exam, but he says ultimately the TSA disqualified him for the job because he only has one hand.  Now he is suing the government agency for discrimination.

Mr. Costantino:  I was hurt at first.  At first, it was disappointing.  I passed everything that was required and they just assumed, because I was born without a right hand, that I wouldn’t be able to perform the tasks of the job.

Attorney Jonathan Bell:  They assumed due to his disability that he cannot perform the essential functions of his job without even testing him to see if he can, such as asking him to open some luggage, asking him to pat somebody down.

Newscaster:  Costantino demonstrated that he can open zippers and look through bags.  The TSA in the meantime says it will not comment on the case because it is a pending lawsuit; however, a TSA official says that Congress gave the TSA leeway to create its own physical qualifications for the job as security screener, including motor skills.

Mr. Costantino:  They should definitely fix it, especially if [they’re the] government.

Newscaster:  Costantino says, by the way, he is not suing for money—what he is suing for is the job.

In Ozone Park, Queens, I’m Linda Schmidt, Fox5 News.