Legal Briefings:

Disclaimer: This document and any discussions set forth herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice, which has to be addressed to particular facts and circumstances involved in any given situation. Review or use of the document and any discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author or publisher. To the extent that this document may contain suggested provisions, they will require modification to suit a particular transaction, jurisdiction or situation.

Harassment Complaints

On August 27, 2016, plaintiff Briana Jones, a security guard, was engaged in the normal course of her duties for Prudential Security. Jones claimed that she was sexually harassed by a co-worker. She notified a supervisor. Jones’ employment was terminated in September 2016.
Jones sued Prudential Security. The lawsuit alleged that Jones was subjected to sexual harassment, that she was subjected to retaliatory acts after reporting the harassment, and that the harassment and retaliation violated the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Jones claimed that she was harassed by a male security guard at a local school where the two worked, the Fisher Building in Detroit. She claimed that, while she and the guard were in an elevator, the guard stated that he frequently sent sexual text messages to women he met online. Jones claimed that the guard asked her what type of penis images women like to see and showed her a photograph of a penis from his phone.

Jones claimed that the guard later suggested a sexual encounter, questioned when she had last received good oral sex, asked to see a picture of her cookie, which she interpreted to mean her vagina, and attempted to hug her. Jones claimed that she reported the guard’s behavior, but that Prudential did not properly investigate the complaint. Jones claimed that Prudential took statements from her and the guard, but did not investigate further and continued assigning her and the guard to work together.

Jones filed a police report in early September 2016. Prudential obtained a copy of the report. Jones claimed that she was told, within days of submitting the report, that she was being taken off of the work schedule, and was later informed that she needed to speak with a supervisor about the report before returning to her job. Jones claimed that she sent text messages to a supervisor in an attempt to schedule a meeting, but that the meeting never ensued. Jones claimed that she was terminated in the middle of September, but that the guard was not terminated. The defense denied that any sexual harassment took place. The guard claimed that he did not harass Jones. The defense further claimed that Jones was not a good employee and that Prudential had legitimate reasons for terminating her. The defense noted that Jones had previously gotten in trouble for taking a long break, as well as an incident in which Jones was sent home for sitting on the floor during her shift. The defense also disputed whether Prudential took Jones off of the work schedule. It argued that Jones simply stopped reporting to work. Jones’ counsel countered that the texts Jones sent trying to set up a meeting with the supervisor demonstrated that she did want to work.


Jones claimed that it was emotionally difficult for her to work alongside the guard prior to her termination. She noted that she was a single mother and the sole provider for her young daughter, and claimed that she did not have a lot of savings when she lost her job and feared she would be unable to provide for her child.

Jones also claimed that she was unable to stay current on her car payments after leaving Prudential, resulting in her losing her vehicle. Jones claimed that this hurt her credit score and still hinders her ability to get loans. She needed her grandmother’s assistance when leasing a new vehicle. Jones has worked numerous different jobs since leaving Prudential. Some of her subsequent employers paid her a lower salary compared to what she earned at Prudential. She currently works for an automotive company. Jones sought recovery of $24,525 in back pay. This represented her lost earnings during the times she was unemployed or earning less than she did at Prudential. Jones also sought recovery of compensatory and punitive damages. Damages were not greatly disputed.

Verdict Text:

The jury found that Jones was subjected to harassment and retaliatory acts. It determined that Jones’ damages totaled $385,680, which comprised lost earnings, compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Machine Guarding

The Department of Labor finds Bonded Logic, Inc., a LaFayette, Georgia insulation manufacturer, ignored safety standards, after an investigation of a worker’s serious head injury. Bonded Logic, Inc., markets and manufactures several thermal and acoustical insulation products for multiple industries.

A 21-year-old line operator at a LaFayette, Georgia, insulation manufacturer suffered severe head trauma after being caught in a machine’s roller. A U.S. Department of Labor investigation determined that the employer willfully ignored federal workplace safety standards.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Bonded Logic, Inc., for two willful, two repeat and 10 serious violations after its investigation of the August 24, 2022, incident. OSHA inspectors found the employer willfully failed to develop and use lockout/tagout procedures to prevent machines from sudden starts or movements during maintenance, and did not control the release of stored energy while machines were serviced.

OSHA has proposed $423,432 in penalties.

Additionally, OSHA identified repeat violations for not installing safety guards on machines and failing to certify forklift operators. The agency also cited the company for failing to:

  • Conduct an evaluation to identify permit-required confined spaces, and develop and implement a permit-required confined space program.
  • Train employees on the hazards associated with permit-required confined spaces and complete entry permits prior to entering those spaces.
  • Ensure energy control devices were applied to all energy sources during maintenance or servicing.
  • Maintain proper guarding of chains and sprockets on machinery.

“Bonded Logic put profits before safety and now a young worker must cope with the aftermath of a horrible and preventable injury,” said OSHA Area Office Director Jeffery Stawowy in Atlanta-West. “The employer’s failure to develop and ensure the use of lockout procedures for employees who work near and perform maintenance on dangerous machinery is hard to comprehend.”

OSHA inspected Bonded Logic in 2018 and 2021, issuing three serious, and five other-than-serious violations for hazards associated with eye protection, machine guarding, housekeeping, powered industrial trucks and confined space.

TPM can help you by identifying these same types of hazards at your company. Call TPM and schedule an audit of your facilities to address these simple problems, before a tragic accident occurs.