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Woman Says TSA Fired Her For Having Breast Cancer

Tammy Hultman filed an EEOC complaint against TSA for illegal termination because of a disability.
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Tammy Hultman

Tammy Hultman says she was fired from her job at TSA because of a breast cancer diagnosis. (CBS)

CBS Chicago (con't)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – She’s been fighting breast cancer. Now she is fighting to get her job back – taking on the controversial TSA. The Tinley Park mother of three says she was unfairly fired from her TSA job because of her illness. CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

As if the Transportation Security Administration didn’t have enough PR trouble, now they’re facing charges that one of their security screeners at O’Hare was terminated because of her Stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis.

An angry Tammy Hultman says being fired was “devastating. I just couldn’t believe that when somebody is down, they’d kick them. It’s just not something that you do.”

After her diagnosis in January, she was on leave without pay as she underwent surgery and chemotherapy. At one point, an O’Hare terminal manager sent her a reassuring letter.

“Don’t worry about your job,” it said.

In September, Hultman says she asked the TSA if her job was protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. She says she was told it was not.

Then, in late October, she got a letter from an assistant federal security director saying, “I have decided to terminate your TSA employment.”

Hultman is outraged.

“Under the law, the very government that’s supposed to protect you from being terminated, is the one that’s actually doing it,” she said.

Her husband, John, says fighting cancer has been an “uphill battle, and to get to know that you’re being terminated during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, is just icing on the cake. The irony is unbelievable.”

Now his wife has filed an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission complaint against the TSA. Under EEOC guidelines, “It is illegal for an employer to discharge a person because of disability.”

“You have to stand up,” said Hultman.

The TSA issued a statement late Tuesday saying the agency “cares deeply about the well being of our employees. However in accordance with the Privacy Act, we cannot comment.”

Hultman says if she is somehow reinstated, her doctors tell her she’ll be healthy enough to return to work in the spring.

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