Friday, January 23, 2015

Constructive Discharge of Librarians

Sometimes librarians are sexually harassed in the public library where they work. This can be due to patrons viewing Internet pornography.  Some libraries allow porn viewing despite the law as a direct result of American Library Association [ALA] pro child porn training/policy applied locally.  When librarians complain to their managers about such harassment, they are sometimes told don't let the door hit you on the way out.  You see, to stop the harassment, the library would have to filter the Internet and jettison the ALA's anything-goes policy.  For some, ALA rules are too precious to toss aside just because, as they might see it, some prudish librarian alleges she's being sexually harassed when, as ALA teaches, no librarian has ever been sexually harassed nor ever will be (link).

It may be "constructive discharge (link)" to tell a librarian/library employee to go take a hike when he/she complains about being sexually harassed by porn viewers, depending on the circumstances and the extent of a hostile work environment (link).

Librarians who quit may not even realize they've been essentially fired.  Constructive discharge (a kind of wrongful termination) makes libraries and municipalities (that take no action to stop libraries from acting outside the law) subject to liability.

Here are possible/potential examples of constructive discharge or constructive dismissal by librarians and library employees working in public libraries following ALA diktat to allow unfiltered porn where management told them to go take a hike:

Orland Park Public Library employee Linda Zec said (link):
I also finally speak out because after conversations that I had while I was employed at the OPPL with my director and assistant director, I was told that I could quit if I did not like their policy, with no hard feelings.  ....  I ... was being told I could like it or lump it.  ....  I was told by Director Weimar that porn was protected under freedom of speech.  ....  I was basically told ... to leave it alone.  I took her stern warnings as, "You cause trouble, you lose your job," which I really did not want to do because I really enjoyed being part of the library family.  I just did not like the pervs [air quotes] that came in and made me feel uncomfortable.  However, my husband did want me to quit.  So eventually, after enough complaining, I did so.
Birmingham Public Library librarian Barbara Ann Wilson was told, "If you don't like it leave" (link).  The graphic at top right illustrates this statement.

A dozen librarians in Adamson v. Minneapolis Public Library (link) revealed:
24.  In 1997, Lawson was advised by Plaintiff Nancy Corcoran that staff members were being regularly exposed to obscene and sexually explicit materials at their work place and throughout MPL.  Lawson responded by memo rejecting any responsibility on the part of the library to monitor or restrict access on the Internet.  Lawson went further to formulate and implement a policy under which MPL would allow complete and unfettered access to the Internet by any patron.  Lawson and MPL took the position that the only relevant concern was the First Amendment rights of the viewers of obscene and pornographic materials, and that it would not be permissible for MPL employees to take any action that would interfere with patron access to these materials.
There are other cases, I just think three examples is enough.

I'm hoping writing my opinions/observations here will help librarians obtain justice, deter library management from practicing constructive discharge, and wake up local communities and governments to the possibly of serious liability costs if they allow libraries to continue to serve porn and child porn despite the law.

Sexual harassment of librarians must stop, even if it means tossing aside ALA diktat and installing Internet filters as part of an effective solution to stop Internet porn viewing (link).

It's the right thing to do, the latest case being from just yesterday:

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