As the spotlight on sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the workplace grows brighter, US Security Associates (USSA) and related entities have been the subject of more than 50 federal lawsuits–including sexual harassment and gender discrimination–since 2000. In Portland, US Security Associates provides security to Daimler Trucks of North America, among other locations.
The locality of litigation spread across the country to Oregon, California, Washington, Texas, Ohio, and many more. While USSA denies most of the allegations, a sizeable proportion of these charges were settled before a verdict was reached. The sheer number of allegations and cases filed speak to a distressing pattern of allegations within the company.
- Within the last six years, former US Security officer Rohini Benjamin filed a lawsuit charging US Security Associates with sexual harassment and retaliation. According to the suit, Benjamin was harassed by her supervisor who allegedly sent harassing text messages including suggesting her working conditions would improve if she accepted his sexual advances. Benjamin claims the situation was not dealt with appropriately and to the contrary after reporting this, her work hours were reduced and then she was removed from the site and forced to work on an on-call basis only. She filed a complaint and in 2012. US Security Associates and Benjamin settled the matter and the case was dismissed.
- Former USSA security officer, Tiffany Johnson, filed a lawsuit over sexual harassment. Johnson alleges a US Security employee touched her inappropriately at work and sent vulgar photos numerous times. She says she reached out to US Security management multiple times a month to solve this matter, but never had her calls and complaints returned. She further contends she was retaliated against for reporting alleged harassment and terminated from her post. Less than four weeks after she filed a complaint with the court, US Security and Johnson reached a settlement and the case was dismissed.
- Another such case involved Cindy Bartice, a US Security officer who filed a lawsuit in the California Superior Court. Bartice alleged gender discrimination, discrimination based on a medical condition-her pregnancy, and retaliation by USSA management. Bartice alleged she was forced to miss work on numerous occasions due to complications in her pregnancy, but that she had permission from her supervisor and a doctor’s note for each occasion. According to Bartice, she was told she would lose her job if she took leave after her baby was born because the Family Medical Leave Act did not apply to her. Once the baby arrived she took six weeks maternity leave. When she called to report back to work, she was told she had been terminated on the basis that she had “abandoned her job.” US Security and Bartice settled and the case was dismissed in September 2014.
Such behavior extends back to 2010, when a federal jury determined US Security Associates was liable for $2.55 million in compensatory and punitive damages for sexual harassment, unlawful retaliation, and more. The Court concluded that USSA should be liable because “USSA’s cavalier attitude toward sexual harassment in the workplace coupled with the Supervisor’s demonstrated proclivity for sexual harassment of vulnerable women under his supervision provided the perfect storm for the most egregious case of sexual harassment, retaliation, and tortious conduct that has been tried in this court.”
*Memorandum Opinion from an Alabama federal district court issued in connection with a lawsuit filed against U.S. Security, October 2010.
For more information on US Security Associates, visit ResponsibleContractorGuide.org.