EEOC Sues Guardsmark for Retaliation

Security  Guard Fired for Opposing Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

DETROIT - Security giant Guardsmark retaliated against a  security guard who opposed a sexually hostile work environment by firing him,  the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged in a lawsuit filed  today.

The lawsuit  alleges that Guardsmark terminated Christopher Smith in retaliation for his  role in a woman's sexual harassment complaint. According to the lawsuit,  another security guard used security cameras to zoom in on women's private  parts. Smith told the security guard to stop, but the guard continued to engage  in the behavior. Smith told a woman about the guard's actions, and the woman  filed a sexual harassment complaint with the contractor for whom she worked.  Guardsmark responded by firing Smith.

Such  alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which  prohibits retaliation.  The EEOC filed  suit (EEOC v. Guardsmark, Case No. 2:13cv15229), filed in the U.S. District  Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), after first attempting to settle  the case through its conciliation process. The agency seeks to recover monetary  compensation for Smith, including back pay and compensatory damages for  emotional distress, as well as punitive damages.

"Title VII  protects employees from being retaliated against for opposing sexual harassment  even if they complain to someone else, like a co-worker or client," explained  Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC. "Employees like Smith who oppose  the illegal acts of a co-worker should be commended, not fired."

Guardsmark  provides security services to companies throughout the world. According to its  website,, Guardsmark, LLC, is one of the largest security  firms in the world with over 19,000 employees and offices in more than 400  cities.

Eliminating policies and practices  that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under  employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC's investigative or  enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC's  Strategic Enforcement Plan.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws  prohibiting employment discrimination.   Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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