Muslim Security Guard Was Denied Accommodation, Federal Agency Charges
SAN DIEGO — Universal Protection Services, LP, dba Allied Universal Security Services, a nationwide private security services company, will pay $90,000 and furnish other relief to settle a religious discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the security company refused to accommodate the request of a Muslim security guard who sought a modification to the company’s grooming standard. The company fired him two days after he made the request, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination and requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to employees’ sincerely held religious beliefs so long as this does not pose an undue hardship. The EEOC filed its suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California (EEOC v. Universal Protection Services, LP, dba Allied Universal Security Services, Case No. 3:17-cv-02436-BEN-NLS) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
As part of the settlement, in addition to paying $90,000 to the employee, Allied Universal will retain an equal employment monitor; review and revise its religious accommodation policies and practices to comply with Title VII; provide annual EEO training for employees, supervisors, and managers who are involved in the religious accommodation process; post an employee notice; and undertake record keeping and reporting to EEOC.
“The EEOC commends Allied Universal Security Services for agreeing to comprehensive injunctive remedies including in-person training and monitoring to ensure that future religious discrimination will not occur,” said Anna Park, regional attorney for EEOC’s Los Angeles District, whose jurisdiction includes San Diego County. “We hope other companies take their lead in addressing religious accommodation issues.”
Christopher Green, director of the EEOC’s San Diego Local Office, added, “The EEOC is encouraged that Allied Universal recognizes that employees should be free to exercise their religious practices without fear of being discharged. The EEOC is committed to ensuring reasonable religious accommodations are provided to workers who require them.”
In August 2016, Allied Barton Security Services merged with Universal Protection Services and was collectively renamed Allied Universal. According to their website, www.aus.com, they are the largest provider of security services in North America and are recognized as the premier service provider in every market that they serve.
Eliminating discriminatory policies affecting vulnerable workers who may be unaware of their rights under equal employment laws or reluctant or unable to exercise them is one of six national priorities identified by the Commission’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP).
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.