Man Can Box With one Hand but not Work for the TSA
Male Newscaster: He was born with just one hand. His disability, though, didn’t stop him from becoming a prolific boxer—but it is stopping him from working as an airport security screener. And now, this boxer from Queens is fighting the TSA for rejecting him for a job. Now he’s filed a formal complaint. Here’s Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson.
Mr. Michael Costantino: I’m pretty good. I’m not going to stay “unstoppable,” but I’m okay. I can handle myself.
Female Newscaster: Michael Costantino was once praised for his moves in the ring at the Golden Gloves. Known as the fighter who was born without a right hand—something this former amateur boxer tells me he never even thinks about, but is the reason why he didn’t get a job with the TSA—feels he was discriminated against because of his disability.
Mr. Costantino: Everyone faces it in their whole life, but I definitely faced it. A lot of people like to assume things.
Female Newscaster: The 32-year old applied for a job as a Transportation Safety Officer about a year and a half ago. He passed an online exam, cleared a background check, and proudly says, aced an in-person interview. The final hurdle, a physical exam—the basics. The whole time he says no one ever asked him about his hand.
But then, Michael received this letter saying his medical exam “…resulted in medical disqualification,” that Michael “…could not perform the TSO job safely, effectively, and efficiently,” that he could not do the necessary tasks. But there’s one big problem.
Mr. Costantino: They said I wasn’t capable of opening luggage, zippers, performing a pat down in a proper fashion, but everything that they stated in the letter, I never had to deal with, take, during the test.
Female Newscaster: The TSA won’t comment on Michael’s case, but points out Congress has given the agency leeway in creating its own physical qualifications.
Attorney Jonathan Bell: I am fighting for his job back. I’m fighting for the back pay that he lost out on. I’m fighting for them not to do this to anybody else with a disability in the future.
Female Newscaster: In Garden City, Kemberly Richardson, Channel 7 Eyewitness News.