The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-30-09

NATIONAL SECURITY GUARD COMPANY SUED FOR PREGNANCY DISCRIMINATION AND RETALIATION

EEOC Charges U.S. Security Associates, Inc. with Unlawfully Discriminating Against Expecting Mother and Coworker Husband

ATLANTA – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Roswell, Ga.- based U.S. Security Associates, Inc., one of the nation’s biggest national security guard companies, for violating federal law when a manager subjected a female security guard to pregnancy discrimination and then terminated her in retaliation for complaining about it – in addition to firing her husband, a coworker.

In its suit, the EEOC alleges that security guard Margaret Gibson was subjected to unwarranted discipline, mistreatment, and sexist comments after informing her manager that she was pregnant. Gibson’s manager allegedly commented that a pregnant woman should be at home, not at work, and that Gibson’s focus should be on her children. The manager also complained about Gibson’s pregnant appearance in the guard uniform. Additionally, the EEOC says the manager retaliated against Gibson by firing her for complaining about discrimination. The termination occurred on the same day she turned in her paperwork for maternity leave.

The EEOC also contends that Margaret Gibson’s husband and coworker, Chris Gibson, was fired approximately three weeks later because of his association with his wife. Chris Gibson was terminated after the company allegedly warned him that he would not receive any more job assignments if he could not prevent his wife from pursuing discrimination claims.

Both pregnancy discrimination and retaliation violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. The EEOC filed this suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement. The federal agency seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages for the Gibsons, as well as injunctive relief designed to prevent such discrimination and retaliation in the future.

“In this case, the employer did not recognize and respect the employee’s right to work in spite of her pregnancy status,” said Robert Dawkins, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. “There is strong evidence that the manager viewed Ms. Gibson’s pregnancy and childcare responsibilities as problematic. The EEOC will vigorously seek protection of female workers’ right to be free of pregnancy discrimination, as well as the employment rights of individuals who associate with pregnant workers.”

According to the company’s web site, U.S. Security Associates employs approximately 26,000 people and, “based on 2008 annual revenues…is the country’s fourth largest security firm, and the second largest U.S.-owned security provider.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


This page was last modified on September 30, 2009.

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