Ex-Queens Boxer, Born Without Right Hand, Set To Go Toe To Toe With TSA

Michael Costantino: Agency Assumed I Couldn't Do The Job Without Testing Me

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A former boxer says he’s been sucker-punched by the Transportation Security Administration.

He was born with one hand, which didn’t stop him from fighting in the Golden Gloves, but the TSA says he’s not qualified for a job as a security screener.

Now he’s filing a discrimination complaint.

“I was pretty depressed, but it’s the government. I was like, what am I going to do?” Michael Costantino told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

The 32-year-old Queens resident said he didn’t see it coming. He applied for work as a TSA security officer, passed the background check, aced the online exam and finished the interview process.

Then the TSA sent him a letter — rejecting his application — because Costantino was born missing his right hand.

“I know I’m more than capable of doing the job, and I passed everything that was required of me,” Costantino told 1010 WINS. “They stated in a letter that I couldn’t do certain tasks that I do in everyday life.”

His disability didn’t stop him from success as an amateur boxer, but the TSA says without two hands he can’t effectively examine luggage or pat-down passengers.

Costantino said the TSA is making a huge assumption.

“Whatever was stated in the medical report didn’t have anything to do with the testing, it was never part of the test for the job,” Costantino told 1010 WINS. “They basically just assumed, because I was born without a right hand, that I would not be able to perform certain tasks.

“They never asked me to open any luggage, lockets, zippers … it was never done during the job interview process.”

The TSA didn’t ask, but Aiello did. Costantino had no trouble opening a zipper, undoing a Ziploc or opening child-proof pill bottles.

When asked if that kind of test should be the TSA’s standard, Costantino said, “Yes, I agree with that.”

Lawyer Jonathan Bell has filed a complaint with the TSA and appealed his case to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“That’s why we’re here today. They did absolutely nothing to test whether or not he can perform the essential functions of the job,” Bell said.

The agency said it’s committed to hiring the disabled, but “mission-critical occupations include strict physical and medical requirements” that Costantino just doesn’t meet.

Costantino said he learned one thing as a boxer — stand your ground, keep on going and don’t back down.

So, he’s ready to go toe to toe with the TSA.

The TSA suggested Costantino might still qualify for other positions within the agency or other federal jobs.

Do you think the TSA was correct in its ruling? Let us know below…

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Comments

One Comment

  1. teremist says:

    My suggestion is that he look for a better job, AND SUE THE TSA. Really if anything he is over-qualified to be a TSA flunky.With his focus and determination there is nothing he can not achieve.

  2. Tom Coffing says:

    ““mission-critical occupations include strict physical and medical requirements”

    Are you KIDDING me? Up until recently, I had a job as a consultant that required traveling around the country every week. I had this job for 5 years, and would have to deal with the TSA almost on a daily basis.

    Saying that TSA employees follow STRICT physical and medical requirements is LAUGHABLE. Many of them are overweight; I gaurentee I can out-run the majority of them and I’m not even in that great of shape.

    Basically they’re people who couldn’t cut it as actual policeman, so it came down to joining the TSA or becoming a mall cop.

    I hope this guy gets millions.

    1. chuck says:

      Especially when you consider that, for a time, the TSA was advertising open positions on pizza boxes…

  3. Youarealllosers!!!! says:

    Wow! some of you really need to use spell check, and think before you type.

  4. ellen carsch says:

    The TSA was VERY wrong! I had a student in my class with 2 fingers on one hand and 3 fingers on the other hand. She was the fastest typist in class and had no problems completing any task set before her.

  5. Perdition 101 says:

    Nowadays everyone one wants others to make special exceptions for them instead of having some pride and finding another job where he would be more qualified. or where his missing hand would not be a problem.

    I don’t see how being a former Golden Gloves boxer should qualify him to be TSA screener unless they are allowed to punch out uncoopertive passengers.

    1. Emmy Skaddittle says:

      he isn’t asking for anything special, just to treated the same as other candidates for the job. you are the making a judgement just like the tsa

    2. MarkinFL says:

      Nobody actually determined whether or not he was capable of handling the tasks associated with the job. Like you, they just made an assumption based on ignorance.
      They have in no way explained how he is not qualified. So far they have mentioned a few tasks that they assumed he could not perform and they were quite wrong. Sounds like this guy is probably more qualified than most TSA security.

  6. Zilly says:

    The TSA doesn’t want him because you need two hands to properly fondle and grope women, a one-handed groper would come off as weird.

    1. Perdition 101 says:

      That’s funny but probably true as well!
      LOL

  7. Jones says:

    From boxer to TSA employee, man that is a big step down. This guy must be really hard up. Isn’t there a respectable loan shark he can work for instead?

  8. bloombergisafascist says:

    the federal government like the city of ny doesnt hire white people. everybody knows that.

  9. Concerned says:

    He could be trained to work in baggage areas. That requires no pat downs. There is no firearm training requirement, which i am sure he could pass with one hand. What are the “strict physical and medical requirements”? There are a few 300-400 pound people working for TSA that are an embarrassment to the agency. Hopefully, they will reconsider and train him for baggage screening.

  10. PAUL says:

    WOULD ALL YOU IDIOTS STOP PICKING ON THE PERSON JUST BECAUSE HE IS BEING DISCRIMINATED AGAINST. HE HAS JUST A MUCH RIGHT TO WORK IN THE WORK FOR AS THE REST OF US THAT HAVE BOTH HANDS. THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT HAVE BOTH HANDS AND DON’T DO A GOOD JOB OF WORKING FOR THE TSA. HE HAS EVERY RIGHT TO SUE FOR DISCRIMINATION, YOU WOULD TO IF THE SHOE WERE ON THE OTHER FOOT.

    1. adolph says:

      HE HAS JUST A MUCH RIGHT TO WORK IN THE WORK ……….HEY PAUL CAN YOU EXPLAIN THAT PHRASE

      1. rmsbl4 says:

        @Adolph There are probably 2 letters missing after for as in work Force

    2. Pauls mama says:

      Paul only idiot here is you.All caps is rude.And you can tell your boyfriend to forgive hese idiots.

  11. finger lickin good says:

    Even his other hand looks deformed.People always looking to sue certain jobs 10 fingers may be required.

  12. herman nusbaum says:

    I just cant put my finger on this one.

  13. David Goldstein says:

    Would you depend on this guy to properly search a terrorist? Think about it.

    1. n says:

      Why not he’s a golden gloves boxer, any Man willing to fight another man with 2 hands when they only have 1 gets props from me? Besides i’m sure he’d knock a terrorist out flat, think about that

    2. your mom says:

      Yes, I want this guy on my side.

    3. MarkinFL says:

      Compared to most TSA agents I’ve seen? Heck yeah!

    4. chuck says:

      David – you do realize that in the last 10 years the TSA has caught a grand total of zero terrorists – right?

  14. Bell Toller says:

    He didnt make it as a boxer so he needs this lawsuit to make at least one big payday

  15. DOUBLE_CHINNED_PUPPETEER says:

    For the love of Pete let the guy work!

  16. Kevin says:

    I’m quite sure half of the TSA staff couldn’t complete a 10 yard dash.

  17. walnuttrees says:

    “mission-critical occupations include strict physical and medical requirements”

    Have you ever seen the fine physical specimens employed by the TSA? Whoever gave the statement quoted above must be drinking deeply of the TSA Kool-Aid.

  18. ZekFoo says:

    I thought the only requirement to work for the TSA was to “have a pulse”? this guy actually sounds quite intelligent. Why would he want to work with a bunch of idiots?

    http://www.web-privacy.au.tc

  19. kendra says:

    will i think they should let him work for them if he says he wants to work for them and at least he wants to work .and that would be decrimation if they don,t let him work for then cause at the bottom of the help wanted also says eoe and that mean they should stick with that cause that is a given right and thats not his fault cause he was born with just 1 hand is it/

  20. Bell Toller says:

    What kind of boxing was he doing with only one hand?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Kickboxing

    2. risskia says:

      A one-handed boxer would TERRIFY me. Do you know how fast that one hand would have to be? Any time you see a person advanced in martial arts with a physical disability, bow respectfully and walk away slowly. On the other…ermm…I mean, ALSO, he could probably deliver soem wicked jabs with his stump – no fear of breaking knuckles…

  21. Benny says:

    Why would anyone even want to work for the TSA?

    1. Tommy says:

      So they can file a multi-million dollar lawsuit when things don’t work out. Lawsuit or Lottery – the new American way.

    2. proud to be a american i think says:

      Free cameras,chance to grope lots of pretty ladies.Also we have unlimted chances to make people cry and embarrass old ladies.You have the pick of any suitcases 1 day a month and if you get causght doing anything bad u cant get fired because tsa is here to protect from the bad people .

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