Legal_Issues_Georgias_Public_Libraries

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Legal Issues in Georgia’s Public Libraries : 

Legal Issues in Georgia’s Public Libraries Marti A. Minor MLIS 7950 Independent Study

No one wants to be sued : 

No one wants to be sued Nearly all lawsuits against public libraries are related to: Employment Denial of Access Remember—even if the library ultimately prevails in the case, a lawsuit can take years to run its course. Being aware of the potential issues and having a plan to address them is the best strategy to avoid costly, aggravating litigation.

EMPLOYMENT : 

EMPLOYMENT Georgia’s public libraries employ more than 3,000 workers; managers must consider: Federal anti-discrimination laws State benefit regulations Immigration status Privacy rights

Title VII: Prohibits adverse employment actions taken on the basis of RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, DISABILITY, or AGE : 

Title VII: Prohibits adverse employment actions taken on the basis of RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, DISABILITY, or AGE When does transfer amount to an adverse employment action? Bogle v. McClure, 332 F.3d 1347 (11th Cir. 2003) $17 million jury verdict against the library When the new job is not equal in terms of pay, prestige, or responsibility What are valid reasons for adverse employment action? Poor job performance, absenteeism, insubordination

Who is eligible for benefits? : 

Who is eligible for benefits? Employee: Yes Independent Contractor: No What about the library’s delivery van driver?

Ga. Security and Immigration Compliance Act : 

Ga. Security and Immigration Compliance Act Prohibits public employers from hiring illegal immigrants Applies to: Library employees Independent contractors who perform physical services Does NOT apply to: Volunteers Suppliers

Employee Privacy Rights : 

Employee Privacy Rights Security Cameras--Disclosed video surveillance in an open work area: OK Vega-Rodriguez v. Puerto Rico Tele. Co., 110 F.3d 174 (1st Cir. 1997) --Breakroom, locker room or restroom: NO Trujillo v. City of Ontario, 428 F.Supp.2d 1094 (C.D. Cal. 2006) Personnel Records = confidential Kobeck v. Nabisco, Inc., 305 S.E.2d 183 (Ga. Ct. App. 1983) Personal Questions of current employee—not a problem unless associated with some adverse employment action.

ACCESS : 

ACCESS The First Amendment provides citizens with a right of access: To the library building To the library’s materials To the Internet on public terminals

Who can be banned? : 

Who can be banned? "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me . . .” Statue of Library or the public library? Kreimer v. Bureau of Police for Town of Morristown, 958 F.2d 1242 (3d Cir. 1992): Citizens have a right to use the public library; however, the use by one cannot disrupt the use by others. Public library can ban a homeless patron whose poor hygiene is offensive to others. What about a registered sex offender?

When does the denial of a request for materials equal censorship? : 

When does the denial of a request for materials equal censorship? At the direction of a prison warden for an adult inmate? YES Prisoners retain First Amendment rights despite their confinement. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 545 (1979); Owen v. Wille, 117 F.3d 1235, 1237 (11th Cir. 1997).

Are materials and information in library reference and circulating collections subjectto open records requests? : 

Are materials and information in library reference and circulating collections subjectto open records requests? YES: “Public records” includes all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of a public office or agency. These records are required to be “open for a personal inspection by any citizen of this state at a reasonable time and place; and those in charge of such records shall not refuse this privilege to any citizen.” O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70.

Internet filtering : 

Internet filtering Filters do block constitutionally protected speech. USSC said that’s OK because the filters can be disabled for adults. United States v. American Library Association, Inc., 539 U.S. 194 (2003). Wholesale refusal to disable the filter may result in lawsuit. Bradburn v. N.C.R.L., Civil Action No. 2:06-CV-00327-EFS (E.D. Wa. 2006). -not if patron is seeking to view obscene materials -what is obscene? See O.C.G.A. § 16-12-80.

Who can use the library’s marquee? : 

Who can use the library’s marquee? If groups not affiliated with the library are allowed to post messages, all groups must be given this right of access. The library is free to refuse all non-library related requests to use the sign Gay Guardian Newspaper v. Ohoopee Regional Library System, 235 F.Supp.2d 1362 (S. D. Ga. 2002)

Keeping up to date on “library law” : 

Keeping up to date on “library law” http://news.justia.com/cases/library/ http://blog.librarylaw.com/

Marti A. Minor : 

Marti A. Minor [email protected] Valdosta State University MLIS expected 2011

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