U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
Norfolk Local Office Norfolk Federal Building
200 Granby Street, Suite 739
Norfolk, A 23510
EEOC Web Site: www.eeoc.gov
Charge No.: 122-2004-01759
[P.O. Box 223]
[Monroe, VA 24574]
Securitas Security Services USA, Inc
4330 Park Terrace Drive
Westlake Village, CA 91361
Under the authority vested in me by the Commission's Procedural Regulations, I issue on behalf of the Commission, the following determination as to the merits of the subject charge.
Respondent is an employer within the meaning of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended. Timeliness and all other jurisdictional requirements have been met.
Charging Party alleges the decision to select her for reduction in force was because of her disability. She complained their decision was discriminatory and retaliatory. Charging Party also alleges she was denied reassignment, forced out of her position of Mobil Patrol Officer, and ultimately terminated because of her disability in violation of section 503 of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.
Respondent denies the allegations and any knowledge of Charging Party's disability and maintains there was a reduction in the need for security services, at the client site. Factors considered were attendance, knowledge, performance, report writing, professionalism/attitude, with longevity resolving any tie breakers. Charging Party was one of 39 removed and advised to contact the local office for reassignment. Charging Party refused to accept another position and was removed from her employment.
Evidence presented confirms Charging Party was subjected to terms and conditions different from those imposed on employees who were in her similar work status. Evidence further shows that Charging Party was denied reassignment and as a result of Respondent's unfavorable treatment resulted in her termination.
Based on the foregoing, it is concluded there is reasonable cause to believe Charging Party was retaliated against in job assignment and was forced out of work because of her disability which resulted in her being terminated in violation of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. Having determined that there is reasonable cause to believe the charge is true, the Commission now invites the parties to join with it in a collective effort toward a just resolution of the matter.
Please notify the Commission within ten days of receipt of the proposed agreement of your willingness to enter into the agreement.
On Behalf of the Commission:
Herbert Brown, Director
III. CHARGING PARTY RELIEF
1. Respondent agrees to pay Charging Party all wages loss, less legal deductions as may be required by law.
2. Respondent agrees to pay Charging Party Compensatory damages
3. Respondent agrees that no retaliation will be taken against the Charging Party now or in the future for exercising her right to file a charge of discrimination.
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a person at the workplace. The laws we enforce prohibit discrimination against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age (40 or older), religion, or disability. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
The Federal Laws enforced by EEOC include:
? Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
? The Equal Pay Act of 1963
? The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
? Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
? Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
? The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
?Employers should not only avoid discrimination, but should find ways to build on the assets diversity brings.? (04/12/2006 EEOC Press Release)
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO READ MRS. DINA MICHEL-WIGGINS' CASE FACTS BELOW. HER VICTORY WILL BE A VICTORY FOR ALL PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES:
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins began employment with Securitas, August 1, 2002, at a pay rate of $11.00 per hour. Despite receiving the Employee of the Quarter Award along with a $300.00 bonus after just two months of employment, she received "no" increase in salary during her entire two years with Securitas. However, her male Mobile Patrol counterparts were given their raises. GENDER DISCRIMINATION! Wouldn't you say?
Approximately two weeks after receiving the Employee of the Quarter Award, she met with him personally and privately with her 2nd shift supervisor and explained that she suffered a lot of trauma as a child and as a battered wife of 13 years. She explained those traumas and a chemical imbalance left her with chronic depression and anxiety and she is under medical care and takes medications prescribed by her psychiatrist.
She also told her 2nd shift supervisor that she will need reasonable accommodation from time to time and suggested, when she is not feeling well that, she may be allowed to come off the road and do patrol duties inside the warehouse; rest herself for 30 minutes or so; or allow her to use the office computer (to write her feelings) which is available to all other security employees.
Securitas is probably the largest security company in the world. It serves in more than 30 countries and has an annual sale of $6 billion. In 1999 Securitas entered the U.S. market. In 2001, it acquired Pinkerton and in 2003 it acquired Burns international which earned them an excess of $2.5 billion.
Securitas employs over 100,000 security officers and has more than 600 branch offices throughout the U.S. Internationally, Securitas has 2,000 branch offices located in 30 countries. In total, Securitas employs over 200,000 employees (see: www.securitasinc.com ).
Securitas also claims to be an Equal Opportunity Employer and even has information on their website as to what an employee can do if they have been discriminated against. Their website also has a telephone number to the ?Alert Line? which they state an employee may call if an issue has not been resolved to their satisfaction.
November 2003, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was hospitalized because of her depression. Upon reporting back to work two days later, she gave her 2nd shift supervisor her doctor's excuse (written on the Dr.'s prescription pad) for the days she missed work.
On Saturday of that week, the operations Manager questioned her, asking, "What was the reason you were in the hospital anyway?" When Mrs. Michel-Wiggins gave him the details to what led to her hospitalization, he basically said to her in a few words that, she was not fit to be a security officer with Securitas. She asked him to explain? And he began to describe the characteristics, expectations, and non-acceptable background for their security officers. The incident in question involved something that took place at home while Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was off duty. It was due to a severe bout of depression and did not result in any illegal act on the part of Mrs. Michel-Wiggins.
The Operations Manager immediately told her on the Monday following that Saturday, "I turned everything over to branch and they are looking into your resignation." Mrs. Michel-Wiggins told him, "I am not going to quit! You will have to fire me."
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins called the ?Alert Line,? to report the then Operations Manager of discriminating against her because of her disability. She fought then, through the chain of command, by printing and delivering to the Richmond, VA branch office, a copy of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, along with a copy of an actual case involving disability discrimination case in which the presiding Judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff/victim.
The Judge ruled that the company cannot terminate plaintiff's employment due to their fear that the [worker's] disability may cause some harm or inconvenience, if it had never taken place during the plaintiff's employment. After presenting those documents, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was spared her job.
For more information about Securitas' unethical practice as a company, please go to: http://www.ripoffreport.com and enter "Securitas" into the search box.
In March 2004, there was a Reduction in Force (RIF). Securitas closed some sites and as a result, some security officers at the site where Mrs. Michel-Wiggins worked either lost their job or were sent to the Richmond, VA branch office to be re-assigned to another site/position. Room was being made at her site to accommodate other security officers from sites which were closed down.
Out of all the positions at the site, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins' department was one that was not affected by the RIF. In fact, she was told by management, the 8:00 A.M. to 2:00 A.M. Mobile Patrol service Securitas was providing to Hewlett Packard and Menlo Logistics were going to be increased to 24 hours within a few months and an additional vehicle would be added to increase the effectiveness of the service. However, this same Operations Manager voted to include Mrs. Michel-Wiggins with other employees that were removed from the site and re-assigned. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins began working at the site when Pinkerton had just been hired to provide Mobile Patrol services as a three month try-out.
At her initial employment interview with the site manager, she was told the position is only temporary and may turn into a permanent position depending on the result of the client's (then only Hewlett Packard) evaluation of the service's quality and continued necessity. At her start, there were only two Mobile Patrol Officers which had seniority over her. One male officer worked F/T during three weekdays and the other officer worked P/T on Saturday and Sundays. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was the very third person on board to cover the open F/T three weeknights position.
During her employment, she trained three to four security officers to begin as Mobile Patrol, to accommodate the firm contract and increased hours Pinkerton had gained. The position became permanent. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was asked to train the male office who Securitas used to replaced her with. That same male officer quit in two weeks without giving any notice. He went to work with another company. But Securitas never called Mrs. Michel-Wiggins back to resume her position.
The male officer, who was first on Mobile Patrol F/T when she began working with Securitas, was accepted into the Police Force. Even with that second position becoming open, Securitas never called Mrs. Michel-Wiggins back, nor offered her any other position. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was crossed-trained at her site and worked as a lobby officer, gate officer, base operator, and loss prevention officer, whenever needed. Still, others security officers whom she had seniority over were given those positions instead of any being offered to her.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins, as well as each other employee affected by the RIF, received a letter instructing them to report to Securitas' Richmond, VA branch office to be re-assigned to another position which could possibly come with a lower hourly pay rate and less work days.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins did not take being kicked out of her position/site lightly. She again called the "Alert Line," this time, reporting the Operations Manager of retaliation for previously reporting him of disability discrimination, November 2003.
As a result, two Securitas Human Resources (HR) staff from their California based headquarters requested to interview Mrs. Michel-Wiggins at their Richmond, VA branch office. The Virginia Area Vice-President was present at the meeting. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was denied the request to have her husband present in the meeting room. He was told to wait for her in the waiting area. She was not allowed to have any witnesses at the meeting and she felt very intimidated by those three individuals who held her future at Securitas in their hands as well as her financial stability.
About 20 minutes prior to the meeting, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins went to speak with the Richmond, VA branch HR representative whom she was instructed to see about getting re-assigned at another site. She told Mrs. Michel-Wiggins, the only security positions she had at the moment was paying between: $6.50 to $7.00 per hour. Mrs. Michel Wiggins told the HR representative that she would be willing to take it until something with better pay comes along.
About ten minutes later, the same HR representative approached Mrs. Michel-Wiggins, with her husband present in the waiting area, and she said, " I can't [put you into] any position until after the result of the meeting." Mrs. Michel-Wiggins showed her the March 2004 letter she was given from her former site which states she is to report for re-assignment. The HR representative, whose name was clearly printed in her letter, told Mrs. Michel-Wiggins she could not help her and just walked away.
Minutes later, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was called into the meeting room with the three Securitas head staff. The female staff questioned Mrs. Michel-Wiggins mainly about her mental health condition and had her name, spell, and state purpose(s) of each psychotropic medication she had been prescribed by her psychiatrist. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was then asked by the male staff, if he could get her another position at a different site, would she be willing to take it-even if it meant less pay? Mrs. Michel-Wiggins replied, "I would be willing to take another position with lower pay, if it comes with insurance benefits." The Richmond, VA Area Vice President just kept making notes on his pad and looking at Mrs. Michel-Wiggins with confusion and at times lifting up his eyebrows. At the meeting, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins explained that she did sometimes get depressed while patrolling and at times shed some tears, but she would wipe her eyes, put on the Gospel station, and pray.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins also explained that she had been feeling better in recent times since she changed her psychiatrist, June 2003; that her current psychiatrist has her on the right dosage and combination of medications that better controls her condition. She went on to explain that the incident which took place from home, November 2003, leading to her hospitalization, was an innocent conversation turned bitter with her mother. And she felt her mother never did or ever will really love her as her daughter. This saddened Mrs. Michel-Wiggins deeply, to the point where she wanted to die, because at her then thirty-seven years of age, she only got to live with her mother from age one to four, then from age nine to thirteen.
In her younger years, she had been severely abused by her mother and became a ward of the state for her safety. Almost at each time she tried mending their long distance relationship, her mother would throw some verbal insults (perhaps without intention) which would hurt Mrs. Michel-Wiggins deeply. But she also shared at the meeting, the support she was receiving from her husband with the cooking, the laundry, and also doing what he enjoyed most-ironing her uniform and placing her underwear and socks next to her uniform and shining her work shoe to help her get ready for work.
At the end of the meeting, she was told by the female interviewer that she would be giving her a call the next day. Two days went by and Mrs. Michel-Wiggins never heard from her. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins' depression and anxiety intensified as she waited for that call. She left two to three messages for the female interviewer and one or two messages for the male interviewer. They both gave her their business card at the meeting. But no call was ever returned within those two days.
The male interviewer finally called and asked Mrs. Michel-Wiggins if she would be available in half an hour? She said she would. The call lasted less than one minute. No time was given her to ask any questions. Although she was receiving most calls through her cell phone, Mrs. Michel-Wiggins remained at home till the close of the business day and still received "no" call from either party, that day or ever since.
The next day, a male identifying himself as a doctor of behavioral science called and told Mrs. Michel-Wiggins he had been hired by Securitas to phone and tell her, Securitas has no position for her. During that time, Securitas was still advertising in the ?Help Wanted? for security positions in at least two newspapers distributed within Richmond and the surrounding areas. The Richmond, VA branch office was still interviewing and holding training classes.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins saw with her own eyes and heard with her own ears, a classroom full of people at Securitas' Richmond branch office in attendance at an orientation while she was speaking with the HR representative whom was seated next to the entrance of the classroom. As a former New York State Court Interpreter of six years, and Telephonic Interpreter, she had to master the art of listening and hearing and identifying the spoken words and sounds of multiple people at a time. In court, lawyers would sometimes begin to battle with words and she had to capture, put into memory, and interpret all that was said to the Limited English Proficient witness.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins was shocked at the words of this doctor. She told the doctor that she had received a letter instructing her to report to the Richmond branch office for re-assignment. The doctor said, "You can toss it in the trash. It doesn't mean anything." Mrs. Michel-Wiggins asked if she were to relocate to another state, would Securitas be willing to re-hire her? He answered, "Securitas will not hire you anywhere in the United States!"
The conversation lasted over an hour. And he explained to Mrs. Michel-Wiggins, if she feels she is being discriminated against, she should hire an attorney. He repeated that several times. Then he began sharing with Mrs. Michel-Wiggins information about his son who has a disability and had been discriminated against from the time he was young and even until adulthood. He said, just recently, his son was doing janitorial work and a lady on one particular floor began to yell at his son while he was mopping the floor and demanded he does not return to her floor.
He said the lady was afraid of his son's looks. The doctor then got back to subject of Securitas. The news was very discouraging to Mrs. Michel-Wiggins. She then told him, "I guess there's really nothing left to live for. I did not make myself. I didn't ask God to be this way." Then the doctor told Mrs. Michel-Wiggins, perhaps God chose [to allow you to have this illness] so you could speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins began to cry. She said, ?I can't even help myself now.? I wish I was [not alive]. The doctor then yelled to her, "You do have something to live for. You have your two sons. And who would want to hire somebody who wants to kill themselves anyway." At that Mrs. Michel-Wiggins said goodbye to him and ended the call. As a habit of being in security, she notated the time the call ended and how long it lasted.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins' husband was financially supporting her while she was looking for work. But as of April 2005, they were separated.
While working with Securitas, she was forced to patrol in a Securitas owned pick-up truck which had no light in the dashboard (could not see driving speeds at night-worked 5:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M). The pick-up truck had no snow tires during the winter; had county sticker that expired two years prior; for months, had no spare tire; had a broken driver seat which could only stay at a rest position; no left side visor due to a vehicular accident by another Mobile Patrol Officer with the pick-up truck. This officer was selected to remain with the Securitas through the RIF.
The pick-up truck was a danger to me, other Mobile Patrol Officers, as well as pedestrians and other drivers on the road. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins and other Mobile Patrol Officers entered the condition of the vehicle for weeks into months in the Daily Activity Report (DAR) and in the computer Daily Summary. The Operations Manager didn't get the pick-up truck safe to be on the road for a long time. Maintenance paperwork will prove this. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins, on her own initiative, organized more than one year of DARs and vehicle condition reports. Had the Operations Manager cared about the driver's license of the Mobile Patrol Officers, he would have not had allowed the vehicle to be out on the road with a two year expired county sticker.
Mrs. Michel-Wiggins did not only fight all the way with her EEOC claim because of the pain disability discrimination causes. But she kept focus of all those other employees who would be coming after her or are currently employed and suffering disability and/or other forms of discrimination from Securitas. Big corporations like Securitas who employs a large number of U.S. employees should be mandated to train their management staff on how to work better with people with disabilities who are able to work. The employed community of people with disabilities deserves to be treated with respect by their employers. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins and many other people with disabilities would much rather remain in the workforce and contribute as taxpayers instead of being a tax burden.
US Congress and US Senate must take measures to assist people with disabilities with technical and legal assistance when they are discriminated against by big corporations such as Securitas. Corporations such as Securitas have an endless and strong legal resource, as well as support staff. The person discriminated against many times has no where near the amount of money it would take to hire an attorney to litigate their case in Federal Court. And so, the big corporations usually win! Is this fair to those who live with a disability and are discriminated against not to have nearly as close to a fair chance as those big corporations? If the US Public Representatives and the EEOC leaves things as they are, it is just the same as saying, ?We do not care about people who are discriminated against;? And our office is there just for show!
The mental pain and suffering Mrs. Michel-Wiggins endured from Securitas' discrimination and retaliation caused her such grief that she would suffer intolerable anxiety, just trying to fill out a job application. She eventually had to apply for Social Security Disability and was approved in less than two months. How does that help the State and Federal budget?
Securitas caused Mrs. Michel-Wiggins terrible embarrassment; she became lifeless, with no hope for her future; she gained and gained so much weight from a new medication she was prescribed by her psychiatrist because Securitas' discrimination-rejection had cause her depression to intensify. This medication caused her feet and legs to stay swollen, and she could not stand for more than fifteen minutes without suffering terrible lower back pain. Her movement and socialization was very limited. Cooking for herself and her son was became a painful task.
Not being able to earn a paycheck anymore caused a real drop in her self esteem. The unethical practices of Securitas contributed to her being hospitalized a second time, after her termination.
One late evening, the hospital nurse had to make a special call to a chaplain in order to speak with Mrs. Michel-Wiggins about the anguish she was feeling as a result of being discriminated by Securitas. She became very depressed over how she was treated by Securitas and just could not understand why she was treated that way, when she gave her all as an employee. Mrs. Michel-Wiggins would stay and do a double shift at a moment's notice, whenever a post was not covered (a post left open can cause the company to be liable, in the even of an emergency resulting in injury or loss).
If Securitas keeps getting away with their discriminatory practices, they will continue to do it to another and another and another.
Securitas' discriminatory practices must be exposed to their investors and their clients. And it shall be done!
Disability does not mean inability!