D.C. Public School Security Officers: U.S. Security Associates On the Wrong Side of the Law


Washington D.C. public school security officers employed by U.S. Security
Associates and its subcontractor Watkins Security Agency have brought a class action
lawsuit against both companies for “intentional, willful, and unlawful acts.”

on May 18, the suit stems from U.S. Security Associates and Watkins’ alleged
failure to pay officers for 30 minutes of security work performed each shift
during bogus “meal breaks” from October 2009 to January 2012 in D.C.’s
elementary and middle schools. In violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act,
the District of Columbia Minimum Wage Act, and the District of Columbia Wage
Payment Law, the alleged wage theft impacted an estimated 250 Washington school
security officers. These officers have been trying to form a union with Local
32BJ, an affiliate of SEIU.

While the vast majority of students in D.C. public schools are well-behaved, performing security in just about any school in the country these days is no cake walk. And these school security responsibilities, the suit alleges, did not stop during meal times. As first responders and community protectors, officers continued working professionally through mealtimes in order to keep students, faculty, and administrators safe. But the officers were allegedly not paid by U.S. Security or Watkins for their work.

If the workers are able to prove these allegations, U.S. Security Associates and Watkins will be found to be not only on the wrong side of U.S. and D.C. law, but also a fundamental American value–when you work, you get paid–in full.

By standing up for this ideal and for higher standards in the industry, the four D.C. public school security officers are a credit to the security profession.

Officers who work for U.S. Security or Watkins Security in D.C. public schools and wish to join the lawsuit should contact attorney Renne Gerni at 202-223-2620.

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