Norman Lupescu, former TSA Lead Screener at Chicago’s Midway Airport, won a race discrimination verdict against the TSA on Friday, June 8, 2012. The jury found that Norman Lupescu was fired from TSA because he is White. The screening operations at TSA’s Midway Airport facility were and are managed by Screening Manager Kevin Laurent, an African American; most of Norman Lupescu’s supervisors were also Black.
The jury awarded Norman Lupescu $300,000 in compensatory damages. The United States District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly, who presided over the trial, will decide back pay and front pay, and whether Norman Lupescu will be reinstated to the job.
“Norman Lupescu fought for 9 years because he wanted to right a wrong, he wanted to make a difference,” said his attorney Dana Kurtz. After the verdict in his favor, Mr. Lupescu explained why he originally took the job at TSA and why he wants his job back: “I am a Vietnam veteran, and after 9/11, I tried to re-enlist in the military, but was told I was too old. I wanted to make sure that another 9/11 never happened again. I want my job back because I feel that I can still make a difference in making America safer.”
When Lupescu was hired to work at TSA’s Midway facility, his mission in making America safer was met with racial discrimination when he was written up by his Black supervisors for things that did not occur, or for things that he should not have been written up for. In closing arguments Attorney Kurtz noted that Black employees were not written up or were not fired for violations of TSA policies that were intended to ensure the safety of the traveling public. Kurtz noted examples such as carrying in knives or switchblades past the “sterile” area, leaving a rifle unattended, sexual harassment, failing to clear baggage and more.
The TSA fired Norman Lupescu within 7 months of his employment, after he complained about discrimination and favoritism he witnessed at Midway Airport. After less than 2 hours of deliberations, the jury awarded the verdict on Friday evening, finding that the TSA discriminated against Norman Lupescu based on his race (Caucasian) by terminating his employment.
The verdict in Norm’s favor shows that everyone in America is protected from discrimination, no matter what your race is.