Officials: Airport worker won't be punished after run-in - FOX 35 News Orlando

Officials: Airport worker won't be punished after run-in with manager

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Vernon Freeman said he feared for his job after a run-in with a top airport official. Vernon Freeman said he feared for his job after a run-in with a top airport official.
ATLANTA -

Officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport say a customer service employee's job is safe after a run-in with a top official.

Vernon Freeman, a customer service worker, said he approached a passenger allegedly violating a rule in the federal customs section.

"When I approached him, he had his phone up… like taking a picture, so I told him the rules, from that point on, you're not allowed to be taking pictures in customs," said Freeman. "He opened his carry-on bag and said, ‘Let me show you who I am.'"

The passenger turned out to be Balram Bheodari, a deputy to airport manager Louis Miller.

Freeman said he was summoned by a supervisor and instructed that he must apologize for not speaking to him in the proper way.

Freeman told us he feared for his job.  Atlanta City Councilmembers said that shouldn't be a concern.

"We do not want that gentleman for having done his job to in any way fear to keep their job…If there's a possibility, it needs to be eliminated," said Councilmember Felicia Moore.

Miller said the entire issue was a misunderstanding.

"It was more of a customer service issue…but I don't want to talk about that here but we're OK with it," Miller said.

In a written communication, the airport authority said that Bheodari actually took his phone out in a permissible area – the baggage claim section -- and there was confusion about the rules.

Freeman said he had a conversation with Bheodari and they cleared the air. He said that he's satisfied the issue has been resolved.

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