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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Security man fired after failing to bring lost flight attendant through US pre-clearance at Dublin Airport

The worker stated that the sanction imposed “was too severe”.

Image: Laura Hutton

A SECURITY FIRM at Dublin Airport fired a security man after he failed to bring a lost female flight attendant through US pre-clearance area when escorting her to departures.

In finding that the decision to fire the man was fair, WRC Adjudication Officer, Penelope McGrath stated that the security man’s actions resulted in a breach of security policy at the airport.

McGrath stated that the employment function is to render the airport and the flights in and out of the airport secure and safe for all users. 

She stated that the mistake made by the complainant on 12 May 2018 at Dublin Airport “went to the very core of what is unacceptable in ensuring that security”.

McGrath stated: “I fully accept the complainant’s evidence that he was simply assisting the lost flight attendant make her way back to her place of work.” 

McGrath also accepted that the security man “quite simply did not think to bring the flight attendant through the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) process”.

She stated: “The complainant accepts that any person intending to fly on a USA bound flight must go through the CBP process. It formed part of his training. It is an unfortunate fact that the complainant forgot this part of his training and in this memory lapse, he created a breach in security that his employer and their client and the airport authorities had to take very seriously.”

McGrath stated that there is no doubt that the firm’s decision maker on the dismissal “took on board the innocent nature of the complainant’s actions”.

McGrath stated that the security firm’s decision maker “took the view that the breach and the attendant lack of judgement made it impossible to continue to employ the complainant”.

‘Too severe’

In his submission to the WRC, the security man stated that he accepted that a breach of security policy occurred and that all parties accepted that there was no malice intended.

The security man also stated that in assisting a flight attendant who was previously unknown to him, he had acted without thought and without regard to the correct procedures.

However, the worker stated that the sanction imposed “was too severe in all the circumstances having regard to his unblemished record and his innocent motive of just wanting to help”.

In its submission, the security firm believed that the security man’s was so fundamental as to render the security man’s continued engagement as impossible.

In the circumstances around the incident on the day, the security man met the lost flight attendant from a US airline who had become detached from her colleagues and was unsure of the way to go to get to her flight.

After checking her ID, the security man suggested that she follow him to the departure area.

However, the flight attendant’s subsequent arrival and signing in at the gate of the flight she was working from immediately alerted the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel that she had gotten past them. 

The flight attendant was sent back to go through pre-clearance and the breach of security was taken up with the security man’s company which has security contract for CBP within the airport.

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About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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