More than a dozen air traffic controllers were disciplined for improper use of electronic devices while at work over a three-year period, according to documents obtained by ABC News.
According to the documents that date back to October 2012 and obtained by ABC News owned station WABC in New York through a Freedom of Information request, air traffic controllers were called out for, among other things, texting, taking a selfie, showing explicit material to others, and using Snapchat on the job. Others were cited for simply having their cell phones in the “on” position.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued suspensions or letters of reprimand in almost every case, the documents say. It appears that no one was fired.
The names of disciplined employees and the locations of reported incidents were redacted in the information provided by the FAA.
The FAA released a statement about prohibited use of cellphones in the air traffic control cab:
“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that cell phones be turned off inside our air traffic control operational areas. The current National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) contract requires cell phones to be set in the “off” position when in the operations area," the agency said in a statement. "FAA employees who violate these rules are subject to disciplinary action.”
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) told ABC News that it "takes the issue of cell phone usage and workplace distractions very seriously."
"Controllers cannot and should not be using their phones while on the job,” the statement said.