LOS ANGELES, CALIF., Oct. 1, 2021 – A gay, Black security guard at Google’s Venice, California campus feared for his safety when his supervisor physically attacked him, threatened him to keep quiet, and berated him with derogatory names including “n*****r” and “f*****t” to humiliate him in front of co-workers— with no corrective action ever taken by company officials, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 1.
The supervisor was even promoted while the alleged abuse went on for years, the lawsuit states.
Nothing was done about the physical and predatory nature of the supervisor’s abuse until he subsequently targeted a Caucasian man he believed was gay, and then threatened to use his collection of firearms to “shoot up” the Google office, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“ Our client’s experience highlights a tremendous chasm between Google’s public comments supporting diversity, and very disturbing patterns of abuse and harassment behind closed doors,” said Attorney V. James DeSimone, of V. James DeSimone Law. DeSimone represents security guard David Brown in the lawsuit against Brown’s joint employers, Google and Allied Universal Executive Protection, which provides security at the 340 Main St. location.
“Google’s CEO won headlines for statements about protecting the Black community and dedicating the company to racial equity and programs to combat racism,” DeSimone said. “Apparently, the ‘Don’t Be Evil’ message didn’t find its way to the Venice Beach office.”
The lawsuit alleges Brown’s supervisor, defendant Henry Linares, mocked him, in front of co-workers, for being gay. At least two of the coworkers corroborate this harassing conduct. And to further abuse and humiliate him, in April 2020 he sent Brown a screen shot of texts from Google’s Rus Rossini, manager of global security operations programs, also making fun of Brown’s sexual orientation, the lawsuit states. The texts show Rossini wrote “Strip searches for all” to which Linares responds “David is going to love that.” Then Rossini writes “Tell David to bend over,” and Linares replies, “hahah I’ll tell him you said Hellooo,” according to the lawsuit.
DeSimone was lead counsel for the plaintiff in the precedent setting case of Mogilefsky v. Silver Pictures, the first published California decision to recognize that same sex harassment violated the California Fair Employment & Housing Act.
Allied Universal, a Fortune 500 company with annual revenues of about $18 billion, also professes to forbid “any unlawful discrimination, retaliation, or harassment of employees in its workplace.”
“The defendant used Mr. Brown as his personal punching bag on many occasions, by punching him, shoving him, putting him in a headlock, choking him, pulling on his earring, slapping him, overpowering him, pulling on his clothes, grabbing him on the buttocks, throwing him through a window head first and brutally grabbing him by his nipples,” according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The brutal assaults left Brown with bruises about his body, lacerations on his back, pain throughout his body, and headaches. Linares started making derogatory race and sex-based slurs in 2012, when Brown was assigned by Allied to work with Linares at Santa Monica Place mall, the lawsuit states.
Brown sought relief from the abuse and eventually was transferred to the Google campus in 2014. But Linares was transferred there approximately one year later, where the abuse continued despite Brown’s pleas to his supervisors that it stop. According to the lawsuit, Brown was the target of insults that included “you should be lynched,” “I hate Black people,” “I hate f*****s,” “I will never promote any f*****s or n*****s,” “no one will believe a gay n***** over me, since I’m in charge, and “I will terminate anyone that crosses me.” Linares also touted that his friendship with human resources managers would protect him from discipline, the lawsuit states.
Linares also demanded money from Brown and threatened him if he refused, the lawsuit states. Brown, fearing for his physical safety, often complied. The abusive treatment has had a profound traumatic effect on Brown, who now suffers from PTSD, depression, and anxiety as a result of Linares’ actions, according to the lawsuit.
“David Brown gave Allied and Google an opportunity to protect him from workplace harassment. Instead they allowed Henry Linares to stay employed while he continued to mock David to other employees behind his back. This lawsuit should send a message to all employers that workplace violence and harassment cannot be tolerated.”
The lawsuit was filed at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles. David Brown v. Allied Universal Executive Protection And Intelligence Services Inc.; Google, LLC; Henry Linares, et al. 21STCV35922 (L.A. Sup. Court, filed Oct. 1, 2021)
Los Angeles employment and civil rights attorney V. James DeSimone has dedicated his 35-year law career to providing vigorous and ethical representation to achieve justice for those whose civil and constitutional rights are violated.
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