Guardsmark Fired Security Guard Working at Michigan Client Location For Opposing Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charges
DETROIT - Security giant Guardsmark has agreed to pay $115,000 and to provide other relief to settle a retaliation discrimination case brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. EEOC sued Guardsmark for retaliating against a security guard who opposed a sexually hostile work environment.
According to EEOC's lawsuit, Memphis-based Guardsmark terminated an employee who was working at a General Dynamics Land Systems location in Sterling Heights, Mich., in retaliation for his role in a woman's sexual harassment complaint. Another security guard used security cameras to zoom in on women's private parts. The employee told a woman about the guard's actions, and the woman filed an internal sexual harassment complaint. Guardsmark responded by firing him the day after it learned of the internal sexual harassment complaint.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Michigan (EEOC v. Guardsmark, Case No. 2:13-CV-15229) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"Title VII protects employees from being retaliated against for opposing sexual harassment even if they complain to someone other than the employer, like a co-worker or client," explained Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for EEOC. "Guardsmark should be commended for agreeing to compensate this employee and to take steps to ensure Title VII is not violated in the future."
Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede EEOC's investigative or enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by EEOC's Strategic Enforcement Plan.
EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.