Fired Maui TSA workers
claim bias in lawsuit

Five employees fired from the federal Transportation Security Administration on Maui are suing former supervisors, alleging they were discriminated against because of their race and age.

Lucas Bruno III, Christopher Gahr, Frank Robert Paulson, Charles Turner and Tom Young filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court citing federal civil rights violations. All are white males over 40.

They are seeking unspecified damages to be proved at trial.

Named as defendants are Lowrey Leong, federal security director for Maui County; Robert "Bobby" Au, assistant federal security director for screening; Filbert Carvalho, security director; Patty Igarashi, screening manager; and Howard Tagamori, assistant federal security director for inspections. None could be reached for comment.

The former employees allege that white male mainlanders were treated less favorably than nonwhite local employees. They contend they were targeted for disciplinary actions that resulted in termination or transfer so "local" employees who were younger and less experienced could be hired.

The plaintiffs also allege they were passed over for promotions that were given to local employees.

Other local employees performed less satisfactorily or committed violations that were more serious than those alleged against the plaintiffs but were not disciplined or fired, the complaint said.

The suit alleges Igarashi frequently referred to Caucasian TSA employees as "f------ haoles" and "white guys."

Carvalho and Igarashi are accused of saying that as soon as they got rid of "these godd----- haoles, we'll get back to the local way."

The TSA, which comes under the Department of Homeland Security, took over airport security after Sept. 11, 2001, displacing private security companies.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --