Security firm lets down guard on San Jose harassment

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Guardsmark Security will pay $25,000 to settle a national-origin and age-­harassment complaint filed by an employee working in San Jose.

According to an EEOC complaint, a co-worker continually harassed a 66-year-old security guard of East Indian descent because of his heritage and age. He complained to management, but the company took no steps to remedy the situation. Eventually, the EEOC alleged, it retaliated against him by ordering an involuntary transfer.

The EEOC attempted to resolve the dispute through its conciliation program, but those efforts failed. When the commission filed suit against Guardsmark—a nationwide security-services firm based in Tennessee—it agreed to settle rather than go to trial.

In addition to the monetary damages, the settlement agreement requires Guardsmark to train all managers about employer obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Advice: All harassment complaints merit a prompt, professional investigation. These steps will help:

  • Always have an unbiased third party review any transfer or other adverse job action against an employee who has filed a harassment complaint.
  • Establish policies and procedures that make it easy for employees to report harassment.
  • Provide training on harassment prevention and reporting to all managers who make hiring, firing, transfer and disciplinary decisions.

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