U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Agency Obtains $25,000 for East Indian Guard Harassed Due to National Origin and Age
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Security firm Guardsmark will pay $25,000 and furnish other relief to settle a harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC’s suit charged that Memphis-based Guardsmark violated federal law when a co-worker repeatedly harassed a security guard, who worked out of the company’s San Jose location, because of his East Indian national origin and his age (66 at the time). According to the EEOC, Guardsmark not only ignored the employee’s reports of harassment, but retaliated against him with an involuntary transfer.
“I am glad I reported my case to the EEOC and glad to put this behind me,” said the former security guard. “I hope my case will help others understand that an employer has an obligation to ensure a workplace free of harassment.”
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), employers have a legal obligation to stop discrimination based on national origin and age. Both laws also strictly prohibit retaliation against workers who report discrimination. After an investigation by EEOC Investigator Rosa Salazar and first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement through conciliation efforts, the EEOC filed the suit (CV 5:11 CV-03190 PSG) in U.S. District Court for the District of Northern District of California. Under the consent decree settling the suit, Guardsmark will pay the former guard $25,000 and also agreed to provide anti-discrimination training to all managers who directly supervise employees at Guardsmark’s San Jose office. The company also will post a notice at its San Jose office reaffirming its commitment to non-discrimination in the workplace.
EEOC Regional Attorney William Tamayo said, “When complaints are not met with an immediate response, an employee may believe that a safe workplace is not a priority for management. We commend Guardsmark for working with us to resolve this case following court-ordered mediation.”
EEOC District Director Michael Baldonado noted, “Employers need to be proactive about eliminating harassment as soon as they become aware of it. Regular training in anti-discrimination laws and policies is simply a smart investment in prevention, and supervisors should be held accountable for enforcing them.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Additional information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.