Court Law Lawsuit

Duke Energy’s Security Staffing Firm Sued By Polk County Woman For Discrimination, Retaliation

Allegations of racial slurring, discrimination, and employer retaliation have been hurled at a California-owned company providing security guards to Duke Energy.

TAMPA, Fla. – Allegations of racial slurring, discrimination, and employer retaliation have been hurled at a California-owned company providing security guards to Duke Energy.

Zandria Nixon, a Polk County resident and black female protected by Florida’s 1992 Civil Rights Act, is a security officer previously employed by Allied Universal Services located in Tampa.

The security staffing company is owned by U.S. Protection Services LLC and U.S. Security Associates, Inc., headquartered in Santa Ana, California.

On September 12, Nixon filed suit against the multi-tiered companies, alleging that while on duty, she was referred to as a “n—-r,” and was subjected to the term “ghetto” and other derogatory comments. According to her lawsuit, her direct employer, Allied Universal, and its management, refused to address her concerns of alleged racism in the work environment.

The lawsuit states Nixon began working on February 1, 2021, at her assigned duty station at Duke Energy. By the second day, she alleges she began to be verbally insulted by fellow employees. She alleges she reported the discriminatory remarks to her direct supervisor and the Duke Energy account manager, but that no actions were taken to stop the verbal remarks which continued throughout her tenure.

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Nixon also claims that her direct supervisor, Lieutenant Less Tynon, a Caucasian male, “laughed at the discriminatory remarks and dismissed the conduct as normal workplace behavior.”

Nixon warned management that she would file a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Shortly thereafter, she claims her hours were cut from 40 to approximately 20 hours per week.

The lawsuit states no explanation was given to her for her reduced work hours, but there was an indication that the account manager serving Duke Energy made the decision.

Nixon believes her work hours were reduced because of her ongoing discrimination complaints. By June 12, she reported the discriminatory incidents and suspected retaliation by management to Allied Universal’s Human Resource coordinator.

She also allegedly requested to be reassigned to another location or project but was refused.

Nixon stated in the lawsuit she was terminated on August 11 and was threatened to have her security license suspended if she did not return her uniform.

Although Nixon filed an EEOC complaint, the Commission failed to determine whether there was reasonable cause for a discrimination case within the legally prescribed 180 days. This blunder afforded Nixon the opportunity to file suit.

Matthew R. McGuigan of Mill Stone Law Group in Coral Springs is Nixon’s attorney. When asked if Nixon’s type of discrimination case replete with direct verbal attacks was common, he answered, “I see a fair amount.”

McGuigan indicated he could not make further comment because the case is still in early development.

The Free Press attempted to contact Allied Universal’s parent company in Santa Ana, California by telephone, but there was no answer.

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