A former security guard for the Nevada National Security Site filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against a government security contractor Monday.
The lawsuit against Centerra Group alleges Jennifer Glover, 33, faced sexual harassment and discrimination from the time she was hired in April 2016 until the company’s contract ended in March 2018. The mistreatment escalated into violence during a November 2017 training exercise, when male co-workers struck Glover in the mouth with a rifle, handcuffed her and then groped her breasts, groin and buttocks, the lawsuit alleges.
Standing outside the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse in downtown Las Vegas, Glover said she hoped to end an entrenched culture of misogyny at the U.S. Department of Energy work site in Nye County.
“These guys, my supposed brothers, they were extremely comfortable with how they treated me,” she said. “So at that point I knew I wasn’t the only one; I was not the first one that this ever happened to.”
As she spoke, Glover was flanked by her two attorneys — Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom and Jay Ellwanger of Texas — and Gus Redding, another security guard at the site.
Redding, 44, also filed a lawsuit Monday against the base’s current security contractor, SOC. The employee of more than 20 years claims he faced retaliation — including being placed on administrative leave, having his hours reduced and not being allowed to medically retire — for participating in a human resources investigation into Glover’s complaints.
“The whole time I’ve been there this is by far the worst I’ve seen, as far as women getting treated at the site,” he said.
Ellwanger said the lawsuits will expose that the Florida-based Centerra and Philadelphia-based SOC “contributed to a culture of sexual harassment and retaliation that has permeated the base for many years.”
Centerra’s parent company Constellis denied the allegations in Glover’s lawsuit, marketing and communications director Suzanne Piner wrote in an email.
“Centerra appropriately responded to and thoroughly investigated the claims Ms. Glover brought to its attention in January 2018,” Piner wrote.
SOC representatives could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Glover’s lawsuit contains several allegations first detailed in a New York Times story published in January.
A male co-worker exposed his genitals to her during a company carpool to work, the lawsuit alleges. Other men asked her for sex. Pictures of her in a swimsuit and rumors about her sex life spread among the staff.
Glover said Monday that men would pay each other money — more than $100 sometimes — to share a shift with her. Managers passed over her for promotions despite her winning awards.
The harassment continued outside the workplace too, Glover said.
“I had to change what gym I went to. I had to change the grocery stores I would go to,” she said.
The New York Times story prompted Nevada U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto to demand Energy Secretary Rick Perry launch an investigation into the alleged sexual assault, harassment and retaliation that allegedly occurred at the work site. Cortez Masto’s office confirmed she met with National Nuclear Security Administration administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty and general counsel Bruce Diamond on Jan. 31 to discuss the matter.
“Choose to ignore it”
Glover was unable to identify the Centerra employees who sexually assaulted her during the November 2017 training exercise, according to the lawsuit.
Still, she reported the alleged attack to the work site’s human resources department. A three-week-long investigation took place, but the lawsuit states Centerra never told Glover the names of the employees who assaulted her or whether they were punished.
Glover’s lawsuit states she was assigned to work a 14-hour shift in a tower with a man she believes was one of her attackers. She called out of work to avoid the assignment.
SOC took over the security contract at the work site in March 2018. The company fired Glover that November, days after she told human resources that she was pregnant, according to an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint.
Glover is still looking for a new job. The mother of two said she blames not only Centerra, but also the Energy Department, for the hostile work environment.
“They know what’s going on at that test site and they just choose to ignore it,” she said.
Contact Michael Scott Davidson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.