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JFK Airport guard forced to watch colleagues have sex on security cameras
A former security guard at Kennedy Airport was forced to watch her coworkers have sex and subjected to constant sexual harassment because she rejected her boss’s advances, a new lawsuit alleges.
LaDonna Powell, 32, worked for the company now known as Allied Universal Security Services at JFK from 2012 to 2016.
Powell says she was “presented with a choice: have sex with male supervisors and get ahead, or refuse and be relentlessly harassed and retaliated against,” her Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit alleges.
Because Powell refused, she endured “harrowing” torment, she claims in the suit, which was filed Tuesday.
That torment included being “repeatedly forced to stand by as her supervisors watched her colleagues have sex in security booths via closed circuit television cameras,” according to court papers.
She was also “present while her supervisors watched videos of female security guards performing oral sex on male supervisors” and would ask about her sexual prowess, court papers state.
Once, in late 2014, a boss called Powell into his office and allegedly said “How much further do you want to go (at Allied)? … There are things you can do to get where you want to go.”
His “clear implication to Ms. Powell was that she could engage in sex acts to advance her career,” the suit states.
A supervisor from the Port Authority — which contracts with Allied to provide security at JFK — was there during the meeting, the Powell alleges.
Another time, the same Allied supervisor said “Since everyone already thinks we had sex, let’s bend you over the table,” the documents claim.
The same man also “brushed up against Ms. Powell’s body when walking past her and made unnecessary contact with her,” according to the lawsuit.
When Powell tried to report the harassment — and an allegation that a female colleague was raped by two coworkers after a work event — her complaints fell on deaf ears, she contends.
Powell, who is black, also alleges that white supervisors routinely used the N-word in the office in front of her.
She says she was often denied meal and bathroom breaks when she worked as a security officer “to the point where, on multiple occasions, she had to urinate in a cup in the middle of her shift.”
Powell claims she made multiple complaints to Allied supervisors and the Port Authority about the alleged racial and sex discrimination at JFK.
She believes she was fired in May 2016 as retaliation and is seeking unspecified damages.
“We have just received the lawsuit and are reviewing it,” Allied said in a statement, saying that “per policy we do not comment publicly on pending litigation.”
Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman declined to comment on the suit, but said the matter was referred to the agency’s inspector general.