By Keith Laing - 01/29/13 10:44 PM EST
The investigation was launched at the behest of Thompson, who said Tuesday that he was "encouraged that the EEOC agreed with my assessment of the Inspector General’s findings and will conduct an investigation of possible discrimination at TSA and review any possible non-compliance with federal workplace protections.
“These protections were put in a place for a reason — and we cannot allow discriminatory practices to undermine TSA’s critical mission of securing this nation against the terrorist threat,” Thompson said in a statement released by his office.
Cox said in his letter to Thompson that the equal employment opportunity panel has been keeping an eye on the TSA since 2010.
"In early 2010, we were made aware of potential hostile work environment issues at several TSA regional offices," Cox wrote. "As we progressed in our inquiry, we learned that DHS' Office of Inspector General (OIG) had initiated an investigation of the same matters."
Cox said the EEOC deferred in its investigation because the DHS inspector general's office had "already put together a team and secured the funding and resources necessary to visit several of the regional offices."
However, he said in his letter to Thompson that the EEOC has now decided it was time to act independently.
"In light of the new OIG report and potential issues raised therein, EEOC independently will evaluate TSA's EEO complaint framework and will begin our investigation with a request for information," Cox wrote.
The Hill is checking with the TSA for a response to the allegations.