TSA fired an agent for being a witch

Published 31 March 2011

TSA fires a security screener at New York’s Albany International Airport for being a witch; the screener, who practices Wicca, was accused by a fellow worker of casting a spell on her (the fellow worker’s) car’s heater so it would not work; when the screener refused to participate in mediation to dispel myths about Wicca, she was terminated

Carole A. Smith does not fly around on a broom, wear a black pointy hat, or cast spells — but the misperceptions of what constitutes a witch, someone who practices Wicca, was more than enough to get her fired from her job with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

AllGov reports that Smith was an airport screener at New York’s Albany International Airport until coworkers and supervisors turned on her once they found out about her religion. Her training officer, Mary Bagnoli, even accused Smith of casting a spell on her car’s heater so it would not work.

The 49-year-old witch explained to a TSA official that she did not cast spells. Her boss, Matthew W. Lloyd, suggested that Smith participate in mediation with Bagnoli so that she could dispel any myths about Wicca. Smith refused, arguing that she should not have to explain herself and her beliefs.

“Would I have to go down and sit with her if I was Jewish?” asked Smith.

Despite having a “satisfactory” job performance, and doing a good job of catching weapons on the Albany X-ray machine, Smith was terminated. She has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming discrimination based on religion and other factors.