A private security guard employed by Genesis Security who was fired after being caught on video swearing at a one-legged man as he threw him from his wheelchair is now suing his former employer in small claims court.
The guard, who was found to have breached the conditions of his license by the provincial regulator, has also been criminally charged with assault. He is arguing, however, that his dismissal was simply designed to minimize negative publicity.
According to the CBC, the former Genesis employee, who is seeking $25,000 in damages, claims his actions during the arrest were "wholly consistent with the manner in which employees [of Genesis] … acted in the performance of their duties."
In 2011, the guard in question was named “Loss Prevention Officer of the Year” by the Downtown Business Improvement Association (DVBIA). The DVBIA contracts Genesis to provide loss prevention services as well as its trademarked “Downtown Ambassador” program.
Whatever happens with this lawsuit, it is critical that when security guards are implicated in serious wrongdoing, they are not the only focus on the investigation. Security guards are generally poorly paid, there is high turnover and barriers to entering the industry are low. Companies and clients (including malls and business improvement associations) need to be held responsible for what goes on their properties, in public space they have paid guards to patrol and among their employees. This needs to be enforced whether the issue is guards overstepping their (very limited) power on public streets or violent incidents like the one in Pacific Centre last year.