Woman Claims She Was Fired by TSA for Being a Wiccan

Posted Mar 28th 2011 06:00 PMUpdated Mar 29th 2011 08:03 AM

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A Wiccan woman who worked as an airport security officer for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Albany, New York is claiming she was fired because of her religion. But a judge ruled the termination was "non-discriminatory," the TSA said in a statement to AOL Travel News.

Carole A. Smith said she lost her job at Albany International Airport after a series of events that started with a co-worker accusing her of casting a hex. Smith, reportedly one of the best at the airport in finding weapons and drugs, has been trying since June 2009 to get her job back.

Smith filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The case is currently in the appeals process.

Selena Fox, senior minister of Circle Sanctuary church, and one of the country's preeminent Wiccan educators, said the issue here is freedom of religion.

"This is our first encounter with a religious discrimination issue regarding Wiccans and the TSA," Fox told AOL Travel News.

"She (Smith) was on the ball as a TSA person," Fox said, "She was protecting our country."

A proud Wiccan, Smith told MSNBC.com she was advised in March 2009 by a TSA official in Albany that she was being investigated for "workplace violence" after the co-worker, Smith's former mentor, accused her of casting a spell that broke the co-worker's car heater.

"I was dumbfounded," Smith said. "I told him, that's not what Wicca is. We don't cast spells. That's not witchcraft."

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The assistant director of the Albany TSA office recommended Smith enter a mediation session with her accuser, but Smith declined.

"I'm like, 'No.' I refused to do that. It's not up to me to teach her my religion," Smith said.

Insubordination was later listed as one of the reasons for her firing. But before that, Smith said she was subjected to harassment by co-workers as they heard about the complaint.

"Where did you park your broom?" Smith said one co-worker asked her. "Why don't you come to work in your pointy hat?"

Smith said she has three black cats, loved the show "Wicked," once dressed as a witch for Halloween and is not embarrassed about practicing Wicca. But bullying is something else.

After the initial complaint, Smith said she was written up on a number of minor disciplinary actions. In response, she became a whistleblower, including writing up a supervisor for leaving a gate open.

The TSA argued it had good reason to fire Smith. In a statement to AOL Travel News, the agency said an Administrative Law Judge ruled in Nov. 2010 in TSA's favor, "noting that her termination from TSA was non-discriminatory."

Because the decision is being appealed, the agency declined to comment further.

Fox said the church is providing Smith support as she tries to get her TSA job back.

"Religious discrimination is very much a part of this case; at the heart of it," Fox said. "The TSA has to uphold the constitution just like any other federal agency. We have freedom of religion protected, and it shouldn't get someone fired from their job."

Fox added the Wicca religion is often misunderstood. "It has nothing to do with negative things, with the devil or anything like that," she said.

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paganz4meandyou

All religions are based of someone's fictitious idea of a God or Goddess David. I believe in the wind, earth, fire, and water - Would you rather Kadafi be in charge or the people who stone women who report rape if she doesn't have 4 witnesses She gets the privilage of being stoned to death. My life is much improved since I became a wiccan 10 years ago.

Namaste and Blessed BE

April 02 2011 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alienbarbarian

This is a riot! "Religious" people have been hunting, burning and imprisoning people (mostly women) for centuries. Calling them "witches" and accusing them of doing things like stealing men's penises, storing them in boxes, feeding them oats and hay. Nowadays I guess witches have learned to tone it down and attack car heaters and stuff. People are afraid of themselves, each other and most importantly their "god". Why not choose a nurturing enitity to worship? A lot less drama. But people love drama!

March 31 2011 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alienbarbarian's comment
Muhammad Nurrohmah

they burning people to hidding something. Wicca people on middle age know something, the secret. they try to anihillate the evidence.

September 09 2012 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
HighPriestessChar

friends clear it is a reigious discrimnation. and as for Dr. John Ivy I do seek "knowledge". to me you seem a bit jaded.I 'm sorry if you read me wrong for I feel all you have been un justly wronged ,should be able to have there day in court.and that everyone should be more understanding and careing in this world. Yes you may think me as a hippie,a lass no.I no in reality this is no so,I have been fire for the same thing ,but I could not prove it.But that does not mean I will be jaded or not contue to be me and love and repect my religion,and my fellow mankind. I will contues to do what I do best and I fully surpot Carole A. Smith in her fight for justous. I hope she wins ,but she will probly not.but the world is getting a smaller place and with the internet we can learn about each other or network.I have studied many religons so as not to offend any.I stiil remain a wiccan/pagan"witch".ijust to let Mrs. Smith know Star coven of Wicca is be hind her .we will be sending engery to her.Blessed Be...

March 30 2011 at 11:58 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HighPriestessChar's comment
Drivy19

First off, you obviously haven't been involved too long to really understand anything. Secondly, based on your writing, I can't really take you seriously. And thirdly, "prostitution" isn't the ONLY activity that has been ruined by amatuers......

As for my being "jaded"...hardly. BUT, I have been involved more than long enough to know "what's what" and what is truth and what is BS. And as to the last, it has been piled pretty tall and makes the whole thing unbelievable except to the inept...

Dr. John Ivy
3rd Degree LHP - Alexandrian
10=1 Arch Mage Ipsissimus

April 08 2011 at 7:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Tam

This Smith woman has been harrassed by her co-workers. She mentioned her beliefs to one person and obviously the word got out, and then came the wise-cracker remarks and questions about where she parked her broom and why doesn't she wear her pointy hat to work.
Then you have the whole accusation about Bagnoli being afraid of Smith because she’s a Witch, and that Smith put a curse on her car and made her heater stop working — PLEASE!
All these people involved in harrassing Smith should be fired! And I would certainly get a lawyer who was good at getting the big bucks out of big corporations – cause that’s the ONLY language they know!! Hit ‘em where it hurts – or nothing will change!!
Pagan religions need to stick together! Because you know the mainstream religions lump us all together as one big devil worshipping cult. We have to protect each others RIGHT to worship/believe in whatever we want!
Another point I’d like to make is that Smith should be happy she’s not being FRIED by those giant body scanners. TSA workers are working all day standing next to those huge x-ray machines with no protection what-so-ever! It’s bad enough that travelers have to succomb to this tryanny!
Smith doesn’t need to buy a lottery ticket – she should sue the TSA/homeland security And the Bagnoli woman for defamation of character!

March 30 2011 at 8:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eagleshadow17

SpiritUSA2008, God gave us free will, which means we only have ourselves to blame. It would be convenient to have someone to pin the blame on when things go wrong, but God wishes for us to be mature enough to take responsibility for our actions, and learn from the mistakes we make.

As for Satan/Lucifer, please refer to my earlier post, particularly the part about learning about the religion before knocking it down.The story is, Satan was once a beloved angel of God, but, to make a long story short, he made some bad choices, and God was forced to cast him out of Heaven.

Nowhere in the Christian Bible does it state, or even imply, that God is in control. Rather, it is God who charges us with the care of the planet and all it's creatures. It seems to me that God has chosen to place the control in our hands, and, therefore, the responsibility.

As far as those who don't believe, God gave them the choice, and they chose not to believe. God put churches in every town or city, often more than one. God put Bibles in every bookstore. Do you really expect God to carry you to church, buy you a Bible, and read it to you? God gives us all the choice, just as our parents give us the choice of colleges, course of study, what decorations we want on our birthday cakes, what clothes we want to wear to school, etc. etc. etc.

Let me ask you a question, do you know how to ride a bike? If we were to take your "Mankind is doomed" attitude, and apply it to other life situations, we would have to refuse to even get on the bike, because, after all, we are doomed to fall off it anyway, so why bother. The history of the human race is so full of people who have met with success, but only after failing at least once. Some have failed many times, only to triumph after trying once again. It seems to me that to express such a self-defeating attitude can only be an indication of either extreme laziness, or an extreme fear of failing. If you suffer from either of these conditions, I am sure you could find many people to pray for you.

I strongly believe that anything even one individual is possible of achieving, the entire human race is also capable of achieving. I happen to know many people who have made a life out of loving everyone unconditionally. If even a handfull of people are capable of such love, then the entire population of our planet must also be capable of it. If you ask me, I think the major problem is what our society teaches us. Through news, TV and movies, songs with violent, and/orvulgar lyrics, corruption in politics, and such a need for greed. If we took the whole preteen generation, all across the planet, and chose to rase them in a very loving, nurturing environment, placing more importance in close interpersonal relationships, and less emphasis on hatered, violence, money and objects, in 15 to 20 years, we would start to see a new world growing up from the cinders and ashes of this the old one.

Truly, I implore you, take the time to study the system of beliefs, before you attempt to make any derrogatory statements, laced with sarcasm, perhaps aimed to ellicit an inflamed response from the intended target, or any other who might be reading along.

Blessings to all.

March 30 2011 at 2:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Wiccan Weddings

Let me understand this. Carole's ex co-worker thinks that Carole put a hex on their car's heater and this co-worker actually reported the hex to the TSA to waste the time of the investigative unit of the TSA? I would love to read that report. LOL What was the finding of the hex investigation? Was the allegation confirmed? I hope so.....hahahaha.



March 29 2011 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sharon

it also says "judge not least ye be judged............ there's an awful lot of judging going on here in the name of your god.

March 29 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Yes

There are many issues with the TSA, as in any large and recent organizaiton, where you have petty people in power. My daughter lost her job because she did the RIGHT thing in setting the alarm when an employee used an unauthorized exit and violated airport security. Unfortunately, this employee had "connections" and instead of him being repremanded for violating protocol, my daughter was "threatened" and forced to resign by her immediate supervisor.

I am not pagan or wiccan, but I'm 100% behind this woman and do feel she is being religioiusly discriminated by TSA, and not only should get her job back, but they should compensate her for the time lost.

March 29 2011 at 2:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bcrnbs

wow,
if she put a hex on a car, think what she can do to her enemys...

you have to wonder how stupid the other employees are...

looks out judge, she may turn you and her x supervisor into
frogs......lol

March 29 2011 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1qtkitty

Who can't see that she is being discriminated against.!
CHILDISH, It only takes one (P) popular high school student to bring down another person and it all starts because they don't understand them, they are afraid of there capabilities, and/or jealous of there unique status or the qualities they possess.

That P person knows how to create DRAMA and gain followers (the name callers). While none of them may be psycho they are stupid and very immature. Their actions in the work place IS CLASSIFIED AS HARASSMENT, under the sexual harassment law in the work environment. Go ahead, look it up.

It is a known that in order to cast any sort of action to another being, 1st the sender has to ask permission, 2nd the receiver has to accept or it will not work. And what's even more important to know is it is NOT possible casting anything that does not have a spirit/soul/energy. THIS IS NOT the sci-fi channel.

Personal preferences is just that PERSONAL stay out of it. Again HARASSMENT issues!

Black cats, let's talk about them... They are beautiful and sadly they are also in the highest level of abused and tortured NOT by Wiccan studiers either. No they are usually tortured by boys/men that get off on violence. Their color related to nonsense, superstition also make them very difficult to adopt out. That being said there are people that will only take in black cats so they are protect them from harms way.
I have dressed as a witch for childish events called Halloween. I have a black cat. I have even in "cursed" someone out or something. What am I? LOL, a human being! Oh, and my religion is Christianity.

In closing, think about every time you say "damn it" or "God damn it", you are claiming an negative action on what ever you are damning. This actions meaning is to CURSE or HEX! That make you - what?

March 29 2011 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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