Guardsmark LLC Unlawfully Discriminated Against Women Based on Customer Preference, Federal Agency Charged
HOUSTON – Guardsmark LLC, a major provider of security services in North America and the United Kingdom, will pay $52,500 to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC had charged that New York-based Guardsmark discriminated against Danielle R. Jones and other female security guards in its Houston office because of their sex. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Civil Action No. 4:09cv3062), Guardsmark engaged in gender-based discrimination by succumbing to customer preference for male security guards and reassigning the women to inconvenient, lesser-paying security guard posts.
In addition to the monetary payments, the consent decree signed by U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr. requires Guardsmark to provide managerial and supervisory employees at its Greater Houston branch office with mandatory training on federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment; to post a notice at its Greater Houston branch stating Guardsmark’s commitment to prevent all workplace discrimination and retaliation; and to submit reports to the EEOC detailing its compliance with the decree.
“This settlement serves as reminder to businesses that a customer’s preference to be staffed or served by workers of a particular gender is never an excuse to engage in illegal sex discrimination,” said EEOC regional attorney Jim Sacher. “Misinformation, stereotypes and false assumptions about the job capabilities of women still cloud many employment decisions. The EEOC will take all necessary steps to ensure that job opportunities traditionally reserved for men are open to all employees.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.