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Homeland Security chief agrees to look into issue of fired workers

(The Associated Press circulated the following article on February 10.)

WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says he’ll look into a claim that railroad workers lost their jobs unfairly because of background checks recommended by his department.

DHS urges railroads and other private companies to check the backgrounds of employees who have access to critical infrastructure.

At least three dozen workers who say they had good work records were fired after background checks revealed past felony convictions, including drunken driving. Some say they were hired as part of work-release programs.

Their lawyer says the agency hasn’t issued clear standards about what disqualifies a person from working in sensitive areas. And she says her clients "have paid their debt to society for crimes unrelated to terrorism" and "were terminated without cause."

Monday, February 12, 2007

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