Security officers and supporters have been speaking out against sexual harassment at one of the top security firms in the country, U.S. Security Associates, Inc.
This week in Orlando, members of Stand for Security attended the ASIS International conference, an annual convention for the security industry featuring an exhibit hall, seminars and special events. We spoke with other attendees about the more than $4.25 million that U.S. Security Associates has paid to settle sexual harassment lawsuits brought by victims and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
On Tuesday, Stand For Security supporters delivered a letter to the U.S. Security Associates booth signed by the National Women's Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and the Service Employees International Union concerning the company's record. Addressed to President and CEO Chuck Schneider, the letter calls for a comprehensive policy that demonstrates the company's commitment to ending sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.
Some conference members expressed their frustration with the company's sexual harassment record, including a security industry professional who called the company's record "outrageous."
"I have a daughter," he said, "I couldn't imagine her facing this type of harassment."
Sexual harassment can have a damaging effect on the industry, including negative impacts on recruitment, attendance, retention and productivity. It can cause anxiety and depression, which leads to less work satisfaction, less commitment and psychological withdrawal. Above and beyond that, it is just simply unacceptable in today's world.
At a school security seminar, attendees were able to read a flyer about why U.S. Security Associates shouldn't be trusted to protect our schoolchildren. An investigative series by the Washington Times revealed that U.S. Security Associates and its subcontractor Watkins Security failed multiple penetration tests, allowing plain-clothed agents to sneak weapons into public buildings, and was fined more than 70 times by D.C.'s Department of Real Estate Services for security and contract violations over the past year. Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray withdrew his support for the company this past July.
And outside a port security seminar, Stand for Security spoke with attendees about why the America's ports play a critical role in our economy and national security - and why port security decisions should be made without any conflicts of interest. U.S. Security Associates may lose a contract protecting the Port of Houston after failing to disclose a family connection between the security company and the Port employees.
Security officers and community supporters are also setting out in other cities across the country this week to remind clients of U.S. Security Associates that there is no place for sexual harassment in the security industry.
You too can tell U.S. Security Associates to stop sexual harassment at their worksites. Sign on to the letter from the National Women's Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and SEIU by adding your name here.