MIAMI – In a verdict in favor of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a jury has found that a licensed security guard with only one arm was unlawfully discriminated against based on his limb loss when his employer, removed him from his post following a customer complaint about his disability, the federal agency announced today.
The EEOC’s lawsuit charged Florida Commercial Security Services with disability discrimination when it removed Alberto Tarud-Saieh, who had who lost his right arm in a car accident, from his $8-an-hour security guard position after the president of the community association where he was stationed complained, “The company is a joke. You sent me a one-armed security guard.” The EEOC said the company removed Tarud-Saieh from his post and failed to reassign him to another post, effectively terminating his employment.
At trial, the EEOC argued based on well-settled law that reliance on discriminatory customer preferences and stereotypes about what individuals with disabilities can and cannot do violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No.
13-20465) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“It is unfortunate that disability discrimination in the workplace persists,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez. “As we have shown, the EEOC will take those cases to trial, if necessary, to vindicate the rights of the victims.”
In addition to the monetary damages awarded by the jury totaling $35,922, the EEOC will seek an injunction prohibiting discrimination in the future by the defendant as well as other equitable and injunctive relief, including training and the implementation of anti-discrimination employment policies to be determined by the court.
EEOC Regional Attorney Robert Weisberg said, “The EEOC always tries to resolve cases informally whenever it can, but when resolution is not possible, we will try the case to verdict to ensure that employers will be held accountable for discriminatory practices.”
Kristen Foslid, who along with fellow Senior Trial Attorney Aarrin Golson tried the case for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, said, “I worked with Mr. Tarud-Saieh for over a year and a half and personally saw how the discrimination affected him.
He was vindicated when the jury agreed with him that he could perform the job he is licensed to do.
He hopes that other employers will get the message that they cannot rely on stereotypes and assumptions, and must treat people based on their actual abilities.”
According to company information, Florida Commercial Security Services is a full-service asset protection security firm based in South Florida that does security work throughout the state.
Canada s prime minister, Stephen Harper, hid in a cupboard used to store electrical boxes and a ladder while a gun battle ensued in a nearby hallway of the parliament building in Ottawa this week, it emerged on Friday.
Members of parliament and party leaders including Harper were meeting in the centre block of Parliament Hill when the attacker, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, stormed into the building at about 10am on Wednesday morning.
Officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) trailed Zehaf-Bibeau as he rushed up the steps to the main entrance of the Centre Block.
As he entered the building, parliamentary security guards opened fire on Zehaf-Bibeau, a petty criminal with a history of mental illness, brandishing a 30-30, lever-action Winchester rifle that he d moments ago used to kill Nathan Cirillo, an honor guard on duty at the nearby National War Memorial.
Meanwhile, Harper was hiding in a storage closet just steps away from the Conservative caucus s meeting room, sources confirmed to the Globe and Mail on Friday. Harper s security detail was not with him at the time.
The RCMP commissioner, Bob Paulson, said a multitude of shots were fired during the exchange. A guard was shot in the leg as the gunmen rushed through the marble-lined hallway.
At some point Kevin Vickers, the house of commons sergeant-at-arms, emerged with a pistol he retrieved from a lockbox, and engaged Zehaf-Bibeau as the pair of them darted behind pillars.
In the rapid exchange, the gunman was struck and slumped to the ground. Vickers is widely credited with preventing a further tragedy by rapidly engaging Zehaf-Bibeau, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Vickers then rushed to ensure Harper s safety.
In this photo provided by Conservative MP Nina Grewal, members of parliament barricade themselves in a meeting room on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Photograph: Nina Grewal/AP
The RCMP commissioner said the exact details of the battle between Zehaf-Bibeau, parliamentary security guards and RCMP officers were still under investigation.
Shortly after the incident, Harper was hustled out of the building to a secure location.
That a gunman made it so close to the prime minister and MPs has raised serious security concerns. Paulson confirmed on Thursday announced a change to the security detail to ensure the prime minister would not be placed in such a situation again.
I can tell you that now we ve adopted a condition where we will stay with the prime minister in the prime minister s protective detail 24/7, no matter where he is, said Paulson.
Although the chain of events lasted just minutes, the area remained in lockdown for hours, with the last group allowed to leave more than 12 hours after the shooting began.
There were reports of multiple shooters, and it took police hours to sweep the premise, Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau said on Thursday. He said police had received emergency calls that there was a shooting in a shopping mall, the Rideau Centre, which turned out later to be false.
Before we can discount any information, we have to verify it, Bordeleau said, explaining why the area remained on lockdown for so long.
An urgent email sent to MPs and staff on Wednesday instructed them to lock or barricade their office doors, which they were not to open for anyone, and to stay away from windows.
This later caused problems when the police swept the area and, not having keys to the offices, asked to be let in. Police rammed the doors of empty offices; reporters who toured parliament after the incident said several rooms were missing their doorhandles.
Parliament resumed on Thursday, a day after the attack, in a show of resilience by Canada s politicians. The Canadian government indicated that it intends to speed up proposals to toughen the country s anti-terror laws in the wake of the attack, including a measure that would allow preventative detention .
The governing Conservatives have made no secret of their plan to install new anti-terror powers, giving the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) more powers to track, investigative and detain would-be homegrown terrorists. Harper promised the proposals would be brought forward. They need to be much strengthened, and I assure you, Mr Speaker, that work which is already under way will be expedited, Harper told MPs on Thursday.
Details of those new powers have yet to be released, but justice minister Peter MacKay indicated to reporters that they will include measures to allow the preventive detention of suspected would-be terrorists. We re examining all those sections of the criminal code, and all measures under the law that will allow us, in some instances, to take pre-emptive measures, he said.
Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Vickers is credited with shooting the gunman in parliament. Photograph: CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS
At Thursday s parliamentary session, Vickers was honored with a standing ovation. An emotional Vickers thanked politicians and commended fellow guards and police officers for their swift action that brought the gunman s rampage to an end.
I am very touched by the attention directed at me following yesterday s events, Vickers said in a statement on Thursday. However, I have the support of a remarkable security team that is committed to ensuring the safety of members, employees and visitors to the Hill.
As sergeant-at-arms, Vickers is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the Parliament buildings and their occupants, according to a release announcing his appointment in 2006, as well as carrying the ceremonial gold mace into the House of Commons before each sitting.
Vickers, 58, assumed the position after 29 years with the RCMP, during which he rose to the rank of chief superintendent.
He had provided security detail for important guests, including the Queen and Prince Andrew.
During extraordinary circumstances, security personnel demonstrated professionalism and courage, Vickers said.
I am grateful and proud to be part of this team.
After being found guilty for having sex with an underage student, a former Hawaii school security guard will be serving eight years in prison.
Anthony Romualdo, who met the victim at the Kailua Intermediate School, pleaded guilty to three charges, according to a KRON-21 report. The parents discovered the relationship after the victim was found to be five months pregnant.
The state was asking for an open 20 year sentence, but the defense requested youthful offender considerations as Romualdo was 20 at the time of the assaults. He apologized in court for his actions.
Given the complaining witness age, she was a child and the defendant was an adult, said deputy prosecutor Kris Yamamoto.
Regardless of whatever he may try and blame the victim for the way she dressed, the way she acted towards him, he was the adult in this relationship.