A black former security guard for Allied Universal is suing her ex-employer, alleging she was subjected to retaliation and harassment and ultimately fired in 2019 when she complained about her work conditions, which included receiving such text messages as, “I’m so glad Donald’s Trump don’t like black peoples.”
La Juana Powers’ Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit allegations include discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit filed Thursday seeks unspecified damages.
An Allied Universal representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Powers was hired at Allied Universal in May 2013, was praised for exceeding expectations and the next year was assigned the lead supervisor position for the Irvine Company, a client with whom Allied contracted to provide security guard services at several shopping centers, the suit states.
Powers, now 62, was one of the oldest and also one of the few black guards at the firm, the suit states.
In about September 2017, Powers began to receive anonymous text messages from her co-workers, including, “Go clean ur ugly (N-word) monkey face,” “I’m so glad Donald’s Trump don’t like black peoples” and “ur big joke monkey,” the suit states.
Powers complained to her supervisor, but he told her just to block their phone numbers, the suit states. But she continued to receive offensive text messages, including “black ugly,” “u going to get fired soon” and “you*re the worst N-word,” the suit states.
“Powers felt shocked, threatened, and horrified by the barrage of text messages,” the suit states.
Powers complained to management again, but she was never interviewed and believes no investigation was ever conducted, the suit states.
The plaintiff continued to receive harassing text messages until her firing, the suit states. She later was granted a promotion, but the upgrade was later retraced and given to another employee who was not black, the suit states.
“From this point on, the work environment for Powers became increasingly hostile, tense, and unbearable,” according to the suit.
Powers was abruptly fired last May, the suit states.
Powers was not presented a written explanation for her termination and the sole reason given to her was that she had attendance issues, which was false, the suit states.