Fired Baggage Handler Offered Full Reinstatement and Back Pay

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Lynn Jones was working as a baggage handler at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport when she says she was asked to load an ill, neglected dog into the cargo hold of a plane waiting to depart for Texas on November 15th.

When she refused, she was fired on the spot, and the national uproar that followed has convinced her former employer to offer her a chance to return to work.

Airport Terminal Services took tremendous heat yesterday as word of the incident spread. Outraged animal lovers lambasted ATS for firing Jones, and the pressure of thousands of angry calls and e-mails was apparently enough for ATS to see the light: yesterday afternoon, she was offered reinstatement and back pay.

ATS president Sally A. Leible issued the following statement:

Airport Terminal Services (ATS) sincerely regrets the events that took place at Reno-Tahoe International Airport last week involving our employees and the reporting of suspected animal abuse.

We applaud Ms. Lynn Jones’ courage to report the unfavorable condition of the animal she encountered, and we encourage others to be as vigilant as she was.

Further, we have connected with Ms. Jones today to extend her an offer to be fully reinstated to her position with back pay. We will continue to work diligently to resolve this matter. We are hopeful that this valued ATS team member will rejoin us.

ATS will use this experience as a valuable reminder for all of our employees nationwide, and we intend to move forward with a renewed commitment to recognize and report animal abuse in any form.

Additionally, in light of this regrettable incident, ATS will be making a three-year financial contribution to the Nevada Humane Society in an effort to strengthen awareness regarding the mistreatment of animals.

Jones said she is considering the offer, but has made no commitment as of yet.

12 thoughts on “Fired Baggage Handler Offered Full Reinstatement and Back Pay”

  1. This story started off about the welfare of the dog and now the focus seems to have shifted completely to the bagage handler (who did a great job and I applaud her), airport officials and legislation. Now I read that the dog was returned to it’s owner?!

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  2. The original story said the dog was “too thin” (in whose opinion?? an ex-groomer’s who only works with pets? Hunting dogs are ALWAYS thin just as top human runners are ALWAYS thin). Sores and bleeding? THAT was the important issue.

    THINK:
    – Maybe the dog hurt itself from fear during the pre-loading procedures.
    – Maybe some other baggage handler caused the dog to be harmed. That would *not* be due to any abuse on the part of the owner.

    There’s a lot of judgement against the dog’s owner in these comments when NO ONE knows exactly when the dog got sores, what caused the sores, or why it was acting sick.

    THINK:
    – Was the dog dehydrated? Had all its’ water been dumped hours before by some other baggage handler, or while the dog was freaking out?
    – Was it just tired after freaking out from being near screaming engines and supervisors / baggage handlers? We DO NOT KNOW.

    I applaud the airline’s decision to pay to educate future baggage handlers, supervisors and animal control officers about when a dog is too sick (for whatever reason) to be shipped. But, rushing to judgement as to whether a sick animal has actually been abused? Please. No one has even seen photographs of the dog! THINK.

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  3. Unfortunately, this had to be made public to get resolved but looks like it had a purpose. Educating airline employees to recognize problems and for it to be PART OF THEIR JOB to report it. Brave lady … stood up as the voice for the animals who have none. Bravo … hope it all works out for her.

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