On October 10, 2017, ECBAWM filed a federal discrimination and sexual harassment complaint on behalf of LaDonna Powell, a 32-year-old black woman formerly employed as a supervisor for Allied Universal Security Services (Allied) at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). Allied, one of the nation’s largest security firms, contracts with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to provide security services at JFK.
The lawsuit alleges that, during her four-year employment at Allied, Powell was the victim of a workplace culture dominated by sex, harassment, and abuse of female and black employees. It alleges that Powell was forced to watch live and recorded videos of her colleagues engaging in sex acts, solicited by her supervisors for sex, and subjected to countless incidents of lewd comments and inappropriate touching. It further alleges that Powell reported the conduct to Allied supervisors and managers, who fired her in response to her complaints.
“This was not an isolated incident of workplace harassment,” said Elizabeth Saylor, a partner at ECBAWM and counsel for Powell. “This was a campaign of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation led by Allied’s top management at JFK. And Ms. Powell was not the only victim—we’ve spoken to multiple women who say they’ve experienced the same hazing and abuse.”
Although Powell’s complaints were disregarded by Allied at the time, she hopes that her lawsuit will motivate the company to make necessary changes to its discriminatory workplace culture.
ECBA’s Elizabeth Saylor and Alanna Kaufman represent the plaintiff.
NBC’s I-Team covered the case on October 10, 2017.
“JFK Airport guard forced to watch colleagues have sex on security cameras: suit,” New York Daily News