CSC’s success is largely due to its ability to constantly staff massive events across North America, often back to back. According to a staffer, job reviews, and lawsuits, the company does not properly train workers.
Over the past 30 years, the company has been sued dozens of times by patrons and the people it hires. In 2016, Deadspin reported that CSC had been sued at least 21 times in federal court since 1991 on claims of assault, battery, personal injury, and civil rights violations, Many cases resulted in out-of-court settlements between the parties, with CSC denying the accusations.
In multiple lawsuits, including a massive class action suit spanning 13 years, CSC workers have accused the company of creating unsafe environments by failing to train workers and violating labor laws. Some of their lawsuits alleged that CSC cut corners by hiring inexperienced people at low wages to fill positions shortly before events were set to begin. Several CSC workers have been trampled at festivals and sporting events, court records show.
In 2020, hundreds of CSC workers settled with the company for $1,220,000 after accusing them of failing to pay their minimum wages, not giving them rest or meal breaks, and not reimbursing them for expenses, among other alleged labor law violations. As part of the settlement agreement, CSC denied all liability and asserted that the workers’ claims had no merit and that the company had acted lawfully.
At Miami’s Ultra Music Festival in 2014, a CSC security guard named Erica Mack suffered from two skull fractures, severe brain hemorrhaging, and a broken leg after gate-crashers trampled her, according to a $10 million gross negligence lawsuit she filed against Ultra, CSC, and others responsible for the event.
In her lawsuit, Mack, then 29, alleged that CSC knowingly put her in an area vulnerable to gate-crashers given past incidents and took down stronger fencing at the request of a beverage company vendor, leaving her helpless. The complaint stated that there were “insufficient CSC security guards and police” and that they failed to “provide adequately trained personnel in the area where she was injured,” ultimately failing “to maintain a safe workplace.”
“CSC placed Mack in direct contact with violent individuals without warning her of the danger and without putting reasonable, minimum safeguards in place to protect her from foreseeable, serious bodily harm,” the lawsuit stated.
The defendants argued there was not enough evidence to prove gross negligence and that they were not liable for her injuries because Mack was not an employee, but a contractor. The case was eventually dismissed.
Some CSC workers have also raised concerns on Glassdoor, a jobs site where employees can leave anonymous reviews for companies. CSC has 3.8 stars and many reviewers praise the flexibility, the ability to see concerts, and “easy-going staff.” But others have complained about the low pay, lack of breaks, and lack of training.
In one review for CSC from April 2 of this year, a person wrote that the company is prone to changing rules and policies on a whim and that “the pay sucks considering the type of work we do and sometimes the job can be dangerous.” Another from Sept. 12, 2021, said, “There’s no training for the job. You get yelled at by customers because you’re not doing a job that you were never trained for correctly.”
In a 2011 review, a person who said they were an independent contractor for CSC wrote that “advanced training for event staff is ‘call the police when u see someone dying.’”
Several online job postings from CSC show that the company requires no previous security experience and pegs the job as “something fun and exciting” and an opportunity to “experience some of the greatest in entertainment.”
“No experience necessary We Will Train You and we offer paid training for all Nevada PILB Security Guard positions,” one Las Vegas job posting by CSC reads.
On March 18, CSC posted part-time positions for event staff and security jobs for the Hollywood Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and other LA venues for $15 to $17 an hour.
The staffer who worked security at Chappelle’s show the night of the attack told BuzzFeed News that there wasn’t “a real hiring process” and that he easily got the CSC job through a friend because the company was looking to staff up quickly. He claimed that other CSC contractors there had not worked security before and did not have experience using metal detectors or thoroughly checking bags.
CSC also barely provided any training, he alleged, adding that two days before the show, the company hosted a security briefing and then gave everyone a blue and yellow T-shirt.
On the day of the event, CSC security leaders held a meeting for their sections, the worker told BuzzFeed News, warning that there was going to be a big crowd and to get people in as fast as possible so there would not be a build-up outside when the show began at 7 p.m.
“The crowd started getting bigger and I was thinking the whole time there is no way people were being thoroughly checked at the rate people were walking in,” said another security employee who did not want to be named for fear of retaliation. “I feel anyone could have brought anything in.”
Gil Fried, an expert in crowd management who wrote a textbook called Academy for Venue Safety and Security, said it is not a safe business practice to hire inexperienced workers for major events.
“Hiring, training, and supervising people that are working on the front lines is the most critical element of any crowd management plan,” he said. “The more time you spend investing in people the better. That will help create the safest environment possible.”
Los Angeles authorities are now investigating how the assailant breached security and accessed the Hollywood Bowl stage during Tuesday’s Chappelle show.
Brushing off the seriousness of the attack that night, Chappelle acknowledged he was lucky while addressing the crowd:
“Thank God that nigga was clumsy.”