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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
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Ripped Off in Iraq, Class of Guards Claims

LAS VEGAS (CN) - A private security guard in Iraq says in a class action that his employer SOC Nevada made its employees work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, in "ultrahazardous conditions" without overtime pay or breaks.

"SOC's core mission changed from 'Securing Our Country' to 'Lining Its Pockets' when it began to recruit employees ... under false promises of a fixed salary and scheduled with time off," lead plaintiff Karl Risinger says in the complaint in Clark County Court.

"[D]ue to a lack of adequate staffing driven by corporate greed," SOC subjected its armed guards to "undue risk by jeopardizing the physical and psychological condition of the class members in the course of ultra-hazardous activities," the complaint states.

Risinger, a California resident, says he was hired in 2010 to work as an armed guard at a Baghdad military base , on a 1-year assignment for a flat salary of $65,000.

But when he and others arrived in Iraq, he says they were told that the salary was "calculated based upon a $17.36 hourly rate, which hourly rate would dictate class members' actual pay based upon 'the number of hours on your time sheet.'"

At that hourly rate, without overtime, an employee would earn $36,108 a year. A worker would have to work 72 hours a week at straight time to earn $65,000 a year.

Risinger says he was forced to work more than 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, "without meal or rest periods, and without any overtime compensation."

He claims SOC "routinely falsified employee time sheets to reflect time off when there was none and to show that plaintiff, and others similarly situated, worked only 12 hours per day when in fact they worked in excess of 12 hours each day."

SOC Inc., or "Securing Our Country," is a Delaware corporation doing business in Washoe County, Nev. It provides worldwide security for "individuals, domestic facilities, nuclear power plants and military bases," according to the complaint.

It recruits former military personnel and others to work as armed guards in Iraq.

According to its website, "SOC is the global leader in full-service security management."

The website also features a toll-free "Ethics Help Line ... that provides a confidential method to report suspected illegal or unethical behavior within the company. There will be no retributions or reprisals for reporting a suspected violation in good faith."

Risinger seeks unpaid wages, including overtime, along with penalties, interest, attorney's fees, disgorgement or restitution, and punitive damages.

He is represented by Scott E. Gizer with Earley Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae.

The defendants are SOC Inc., a Nevada corporation; SOC LLC, a Delaware LLC dba SOC Nevada.

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