Fired Whistleblower Sues Orlando Airport Security Firm

ORLANDO, Fla. (CN) – A Florida man sued his former employer Tuesday in Orange County, Florida after being fired following an investigation into the company’s airline passenger-screening procedures.

Andre Jones claims Alclear LLC, a private company which provides pre-check screening services for airports across the nation, “disregarded its legal and ethical duty to the American public by blatantly disregarding TSA’s security directives.”

Alclear does business as Clear and offers passengers the equivalent of an amusement park “fast-pass” through TSA screening.

Jones, hired as general manager in 2014 to oversee Clear’s operations, saw other employees “permitting unauthorized passengers through [Clear’s] checkpoints,” according to the lawsuit. He says reported the violations to his superiors and was met with resistance while also attempting to comply with security procedures set by the federal Transportation Security Administration and the Orlando International Airport.

Passengers’ boarding passes are scanned and are cleared if the scan comes up green. If the pass comes up red, the passenger is not authorized to proceed through Clear’s security line as they are “unverified.” But Jones says that didn’t matter to Clear.

“Parker Bellaire, TSA assistant federal security director for inspections, observed [Clear’s] employees performing manual overrides, permitting unverified passengers to proceed through [Clear’s] security line instead of escorting passengers to the TSA verification station,” Jones says in the complaint, adding that Bellaire and an Orlando International Airport security officer told Jones to stop the manual overrides.

Clear’s CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker and its general counsel and privacy officer Matthew Levine told Jones to ignore the order and continue the manual overrides, according to the complaint.

The continuing practice of manual overrides resulted in an investigation by the TSA, which noted in a letter to Clear that Jones told Bellaire “he followed the direction of Clear’s corporate office to continue processing [redacted].”

Seidman-Becker called Jones “expressing her displeasure” after receiving the letter in March 2015, especially when the letter referenced “Jones’ statement that he was following orders from the corporate office,” the complaint says.

Jones says he was fired in July 2015 without cause, despite exceeding all his performance expectations.

Clear representatives did not immediately return an emailed request for comment on Wednesday evening.

Jones is represented by Marc Edelman of Morgan and Morgan. Jones seeks more than $15,000 for lost income as well as other damages.

%d bloggers like this: