Guard Fired For Reporting Surveillance Sexual Harassment

By: Carlton Purvis, Published on Jan 10, 2014

A guard is fired after reporting misconduct by another guard monitoring surveillance cameras. Now the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing on his behalf. Here is the full complaint.

Christopher Smith worked as a security guard for Guardsmark watching over a General Dynamics facility in Warren, Michigan, but was fired after he told a woman she was being sexually harassed via security camera.

“On a number of occasions, Smith observed a coworker using the security cameras to zoom in on women’s private parts,” according to the lawsuit. He complained to the coworker, but the coworker wouldn’t stop. Smith told one of the women what was going on, and she filed a sexual harassment complaint. Guardsmark fired him two days later.

Smith filed a complaint with the EEOC saying he was terminated because he opposed sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace. The EEOC says this is a case of retaliation and that Smith was deprived of equal employment opportunities and filed the suit on Christmas Eve.

"Title VII protects employees from being retaliated against for opposing sexual harassment even if they complain to someone else, like a co-worker or client," said Nedra Campbell, trial attorney for the EEOC in a prepared statement. "Employees like Smith who oppose the illegal acts of a co-worker should be commended, not fired."

The agency is suing for past and future wages for Smith and punitive damages and asking for an injunction barring Guardsmark from “perpetuating a sexually hostile work environment, and retaliating against any individual who opposes sex discrimination and/or a sexually hostile work environment.”

It is not clear whether the guard who was controlling the surveillance system was disciplined or the disposition of the female employee's sexual harassment complaint. A security officer at the site said Smith was terminated before he started there, but he was not aware of any other firings since then.

Emails and calls to Guardsmark about the suit went unreturned.

Serious Risk for Surveillance Operators

Given the power of surveillance cameras, especially PTZs with zoom capabilities, to track and pick up details, plus the predominance of male surveillance operators, often young and immature, the risk of this is real. We suspect this is fairly common problem, though hard to detect given that rarely do others monitor what the surveillance operators are monitoring. At minimum, very clear standard operating procedures should be delivered and regularly re-emphasized, especially to new operators that this will not be tolerated at all.

Comments (9) : PRO Members only. Login. or Join.

Related Reports

Verified Response Discontinued in Silicon Valley San Jose on Feb 28, 2019
Almost all security alarms are false. This has driven some municipalities to require verified response before dispatching police. However, now San...
US City Sued For Hiding Surveillance Camera Map on Mar 08, 2019
UPDATE: The judgment is now in and updated information is at the bottom of the post. Should maps of public surveillance camera locations be kept...
NJ Law Requires Apprenticeship For Public Works Integrators on May 24, 2019
Few integrators do a formal apprenticeship program. However, now a NJ law is requiring any integrator on public works projects (such as state...
Verkada Wins $783,000 Memphis Deal on Apr 29, 2019
The US city, most famous in video surveillance for standardizing on Hikvision, has issued an RFQ for 962 Verkada cameras due Wednesday, May 1,...
San Francisco Face Recognition Ban And Surveillance Regulation Details Examined on May 14, 2019
San Francisco passed the legislation 8-1 today. While the face recognition 'ban' has already received significant attention over the past few...
Kidnapping Victim Rescued With Video From Ring Doorbell Camera on May 24, 2019
A kidnapping victim was rescued within 24 hours, with the police crediting video from a Ring Doorbell camera as key to solving the case. A girl was...
First Video Surveillance GDPR Fine In France on Jul 08, 2019
The French government has imposed a sizeable fine on a small business for violating the GDPR after it constantly filmed employees without informing...
Covert Elevator Face Recognition on Oct 24, 2019
Covert elevator facial recognition has the potential to solve the cost and complexity of elevator surveillance while engendering immense privacy...
France Declares School Facial Recognition Illegal Due to GDPR on Oct 31, 2019
France is the latest European country to effectively prohibit facial recognition as a school access control solution, even with the consent of...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...
"Severely Impacted" Mercury Security 2020 Leap Year Firmware Issue on Jan 17, 2020
One of the largest access controller manufacturers has a big problem: February 29th. Mercury Security, owned by HID, is alerting partners of the...
Apple Acquires XNOR.ai, Loss For The Industry on Jan 16, 2020
Apple has acquired XNOR.ai for $200 million, reports GeekWire. This is a loss for the video surveillance industry. XNOR.ai stunned the industry...
Installation Course January 2020 - Last Chance on Jan 16, 2020
Thursday, January 16th is your last chance to register for the Winter 2020 Video Surveillance Installation Course. This is a unique installation...
Halo Smart Vape Detector Tested on Jan 16, 2020
The Halo Smart Sensor claims to detect vaping, including popular brand Juul and even THC vapes. But how well does it work in real world...