Twin Cities security firm Hannon Security Services, Inc., unlawfully exposed private security officers to race-based discrimination and hostile working conditions, according to charges filed by five workers.
The security officers filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights Oct. 1, Service Employees International Union Local 26 announced. The union, which represents security officers, janitors and window cleaners in the Twin Cities, has supported organizing efforts by Hannon workers.
The charges describe illegal workplace practices against African-American and immigrant security officers and suggest a clear pattern of favoring white applicants in the security firm’s hiring policy.
“While working for Hannon I thought we could hire a former Somali coworker of mine who was a very good officer — but I was told by Hannon that they didn’t want to hire any of ‘his kind,'” said former Hannon security officer Chris Frazier. “That’s appalling to me.”
Hannon’s hiring and employment practices are racially- and nationality-motivated, according to the EEOC charges. White officers were offered better-paid, more senior positions within the company, despite lacking the experience or training of their African-American and immigrant counterparts.
Meanwhile, minority applicants with years of security experience were not offered promotions or advancement opportunities in favor of white security officers with less experience, the charges allege. Workers also charge that white security officers were offered higher starting wages and advanced more quickly through the company’s promotional structure than minority security officers with similar credentials.
“I can’t believe that when I applied to Hannon, I was given an entry-level position starting at $10 an hour, while a white applicant with absolutely no security experience was offered a supervisor position at $12.50 an hour,” said Renita Whicker, an African-American security officer with five years’ experience. “I thought those days were behind us.”
Investigation of the charges is expected to take several weeks.