A whistleblower who works for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) alleged the TSA failed to implement appropriate early safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite repeated pleas from employees. As a result, it played a role in worsening the pandemic’s outbreak in the United States.
The Office of Special Counsel has now requested the Department of Homeland Security to investigate the allegations.
In the early days of the virus’s spread before Americans were subjected to stay-at-home orders, the TSA allegedly told the whistleblower, Jay Brainard (who works transportation security in Kansas) and other managers that they were not allowed to require officers to wear masks, and refused to provide appropriate personal protective equipment despite having a stockpile of more than a million N-95 masks.
Brainard also says the agency failed to implement pandemic-related training, contact tracing, plastic screens to provide barriers between passengers and employees, and mandated use of hand sanitizer/frequent glove changing.
It wasn’t until the first week of May that TSA began requiring employees to wear masks, and it still does not have any mandates about the use of eye protection. Late spring also saw the TSA rolling out plastic barriers to cut down on contact between travelers and staff.
But while the administration has finally started to take some of the proper actions to prevent virus spread, Brainard says it took far too long to do so, and likely contributed to early spread of the virus and subsequent deaths. Brainard also says the agency still needs to develop procedures for handling passengers who have symptoms.
For more information about how you can blow the whistle on illegal or wrongful conduct in your workplace while protecting yourself and your rights, contact an experienced Dallas whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.