University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name EEOC v. Guardsmark, LLC EE-MI-0195
Docket / Court 2:13-cv-15229-VAR-MKM ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
In December 2013, the Detroit field office of the EEOC brought this suit against Guardsmark in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint alleged that an employee who worked as a security guard for Guardsmark ... read more >
In December 2013, the Detroit field office of the EEOC brought this suit against Guardsmark in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint alleged that an employee who worked as a security guard for Guardsmark observed a co-worker using the security cameras to zoom in on women's private parts on a number of occasions. He complained to the co-worker and also informed a female victim. After that incident, he was discharged by his employer. EEOC alleged that Guardsmark deprived the employee of equal employment opportunities. EEOC asked the court for: (a) a permanent injunction enjoining Guardsmark from engaging in sexual discrimination and perpetuating a sexual hostile work environment, and retaliating against any employee who opposes such behaviors; (b) an order requiring Guardsmark to institute and carry out policies, practices and programs that provide equal employment opportunities; (c) to order Guardsmark to compensate the discharged employee; and (d) to pay punitive damages. The employee also filed his complaint against Guardsmark as an intervenor plaintiff claiming loss and damages.

In 2015, motions for partial summary judgment were put before the court by the EEOC, plaintiff-intervenor, and defendant. On April 8, 2016, District Judge Victoria A. Roberts denied all of them.

In its motion for summary judgment, Guardsmark argued plaintiffs did not have standing because Title VII does not protect employees from retaliation for opposing discrimination against non-employees. The Court found Plaintiff had standing because a reasonable worker might be dissuaded from opposing sexually inappropriate conduct in the workplace if he knew that he would be fired. Whether or not the underlying claim of sexual harassment had merit is unimportant the Court stated, because the employee engaged in protected activity by opposing what he believed was unlawful sexual harassment by another security guard.
The EEOC and plaintiff-intervenor sought summary judgment because they had presented direct evidence of discrimination and retaliation and there were no issues of fact remain to be decided. The Court denied their motions because it found that genuine issues of material fact remained, including whether Guardsmark knew at the time plaintiff-intervenor was removed, that he had engaged in protected activity, and whether Guardsmark’s business reasons for removing plaintiff-intervenor from his position were sufficient to warrant removal or were instead pretextual.

Meanwhile, the parties had been engaged in settlement negotiations, which led to a consent decree on September 9, 2016, which the Court approved the same day.

The consent decree was to last one year. It provided that Guardsmark would not retaliate against any employee who opposed discriminatory practices made unlawful by Title VII, filed a charge of discrimination or assisted or participated in the filing of such a charge, or assisted or participates in an investigation or proceeding brought under federal laws prohibiting discrimination or retaliation. Additionally, Guardsmark would post a notice for one year informing readers that retaliation and discrimination were illegal under Title VII and listing the EEOC's contact number. Guardsmark would also pay $115,000 in monetary relief to plaintiff-intervenor: $36,641.80, in back pay, $36,641.80 in compensatory damages, and $41,716.40 in attorneys’ fees. Guardsmark also agreed to provide training to employees on sexual harassment and retaliation.

An amended consent decree, with no significant changes, was entered on September 16, 2016. The consent decree ran its course without any further litigation, and the case is now closed.

Kowa Takata - 09/24/2014
Michael Beech - 03/31/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Private Party intervened in EEOC suit
General
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Defendant(s) Guardsmark, LLC
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, on behalf of a worker.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2017
Filing Year 2013
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:13-cv-15229-VAR-MKM (E.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0195-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/16/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
EEOC Sues Guardsmark for Retaliation
EE-MI-0195-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/24/2013
Source: EEOC.gov
Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
EE-MI-0195-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/24/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Intervenor Complaint [ECF# 14]
EE-MI-0195-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Intervenor Complaint [ECF# 19]
EE-MI-0195-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Motions for Summary Judgment [ECF# 62] (2016 WL 1391997) (E.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0195-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 04/08/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 73] (E.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0195-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/06/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Majzoub, Mona K. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-9000
Roberts, Victoria A. (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0002 | EE-MI-0195-0003 | EE-MI-0195-0005 | EE-MI-0195-0006 | EE-MI-0195-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bird, Kenneth L (Indiana) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0001
Campbell, Nedra D. (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0001 | EE-MI-0195-0002 | EE-MI-0195-0003 | EE-MI-0195-0004 | EE-MI-0195-0006 | EE-MI-0195-9000
Macey, Edward Alan (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0002 | EE-MI-0195-0003 | EE-MI-0195-9000
Salvatore, Jennifer B. (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0002 | EE-MI-0195-0003 | EE-MI-0195-0006 | EE-MI-0195-9000
Young, Laurie A (Indiana) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Buratto, Donelle Renee (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-9000
Cattel, Thomas A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-9000
Glazek, Stephen E. (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0002 | EE-MI-0195-0003 | EE-MI-0195-9000
Stothers, Melonie L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
EE-MI-0195-0002 | EE-MI-0195-0003 | EE-MI-0195-0006 | EE-MI-0195-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -