Insecure About Your Security

, , , , , | Working | April 18, 2019

(I work as a contracted security guard at a university. My company’s posting is at one of the university’s newest acquisitions, a former corporate campus. Staff and faculty move in slowly over several months. This takes place one day while I am out on my rounds; I discover that a previously empty section is now occupied.)

Woman: “Excuse me, you can’t be up here.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Woman: “I said you’re not allowed to be up here. You have to go.”

(I gesture to the keys and radio on my belt.)

Me: “Ma’am, I am Security Officer [My Name] from the main gate-“

Woman: “Yeah, you’re contractors, right? So, you’re not supposed to be where we are.”

Me: “That’s not true. We can—“

Woman: “No, your place is at the gate. Not where we’re working.”

(A few of the other people in the department hear her and chime in that they agree.)

Me: “I see. Well, regardless of how you feel seeing us around, we’re allowed to be here.”

Woman: “But I said–“

Me: “Part of our duties requires us to go on patrol and check to make sure that not only is everything all right, but to help anyone who asks. That means that we have access everywhere and are allowed to go everywhere. That ensures that we can get to any emergency at any time. Also, contractors are not any less important than ‘real’ employees; we’re usually the first ones anyone calls.”

Woman: “You’re not Public Safety. You’re not real security.”

(I finally lose my patience.)

Me: “My $300 security guard license says otherwise.”

(I walked away, the woman still talking angrily. I notified my site supervisor, who pulled me off of rounds and went up to the new department herself. She experienced the exact same thing I did, and took down the names of every single person in that area. My supervisor then filed a harassment complaint with Public Safety, who made the ENTIRE department take a harassment and sensitivity course. You bet they were sunshine and rainbows the next time we saw them!)

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