When FBI agents leave Quantico, the agency's training academy, they go to Guardsmark. The company provides security services to companies in the financial, health care, transportation, utility, and other industries. It is also a leading employer of former FBI agents, as well as former agents of the Secret Service, the DEA, state and local police forces, and the military. Guardsmark offers security guards, private investigation, and drug testing services. In addition, the company conducts background checks (employment, education, and criminal history) and consults with architects and builders to design security programs. Chairman and president Ira Lipman owns the company, which he founded in 1963.
Guardsmark's background screening services could see an increase due to the mounting concerns of terrorism. Jobs with special security concerns, such as airports, ports of entry, and trucking often require pre-employment screening. The company's Mark Lipman division specializes in background screening (character, credit, criminal records, education, and employment history) of prospective employees.
The company has initiated a number of measures to move beyond physical protection; among them, it publishes information about safety. The Lipman Report, a monthly newsletter targeting security management, provides up-to-date analysis of security issues such as terrorism, workplace violence, and computer security. Guardsmark also operates a learning and development program that includes an interactive CD-ROM, videos, and periodic bulletins about a variety of safety topics.
In 2009 New York Attorney General Cuomo's Office launched an investigation into Guardsmark after it received complaints that its employment application process was discriminatory. As a result of the investigation, the company paid a fine; revised employment application questions about disability and prior workers' compensation claims; ensured that managers and supervisors receive training on anti-discrimination laws; and removed a requirement that workers must agree to have the value of items lost, destroyed, or stolen on their shift deducted from their paychecks.
Guardsmark is one of the largest security firms in the US, serving clients in some 400 cities. The company has more than 150 offices throughout the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
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