BY JAYCE WAGNER 243-2122
Four former security guards are suing G4S Secure Solutions for $3.5 million, claiming the international security company's kiosk in a Gresham shopping center was run by a devoutly Christian supervisor who told employees their gay family members were going to hell, played videos about the Illuminati and warned that the security kiosk could be attacked by demons.
The religious discrimination lawsuit, filed Oct. 5 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, says when the four guards complained to upper management about supervisor Sarah Houser, they were fired.
Florida-based G4S is one of the largest security contractors in the U.S. The company runs security teams for the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office in Afghanistan, but stateside it's mostly a staffing agency for private security guards. Its Oregon contracts include Google's data center in The Dalles and wafer manufacturer Siltronic in Portland.
The four former guards—Wayne Rush Jr., Andrew Gale, Jimmy Drennan III, and Alphonso Nunez–had previously worked with G4S at other Portland-area sites before arriving at Gresham Station, a shopping center with an Old Navy, a Dress Barn and a Bed Bath & Beyond.
In the lawsuit, the four guards say Houser held training sessions for Gresham Station security guards by showing a series of Christian videos on YouTube and playing recorded sermons "about God, demons, conspiracies and the Illuminati."
The suit says Houser referred to the Gresham Station security kiosk as a "church," posted Bible verses on the walls, and held daily "prayer circles" with two other guards. The suit says she told Rush that "they needed more Christian people to work at the Gresham Station because they were 'opening the gates for demons to enter the site.'"
The lawsuit says Houser told Rush in May that gay people "have a choice, and they will burn in Hell because they don't have God in their lives."
Rush told her his future mother-in-law and his fiancee's brother were both gay. The suit says Houser replied, "Well, they are going to hell Wayne and that's just the truth and sometimes the truth hurts."
The suit says the four guards submitted written complaints to regional managers about the "fervent evangelizing" by Houser and two other guards at the kiosk. The suit says G4S responded by firing all four guards.
G4S Secure Solutions and Houser did not respond to requests for comment.