A Mountain View CA, librarian is suing the city for allegedly refusing to accommodate her medical needs after being informed she had to return to work despite having a compromised immune system.
According to the lawsuit, Marie Richardson, 54, of Menlo Park, requested to work from home four days a week, but HR told her she had to come in every day.
Richardson began working for the city as an adolescent services librarian in October 2003. According to the lawsuit, she was diagnosed with a condition affecting her immune system on February 27, 2020. In March 2022, employees had to return to work in person after previously being allowed to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richardson requested to work from home and provided a doctor’s note to corroborate her request. She says she is more susceptible to illness than her coworkers.The city granted her a 90-day extension and continued to do so until May 8, 2023.
According to the lawsuit, that’s when HR analyst Karin Davalos informed Richardson that she was now required to work on site full time with the rest of the staff at 585 Franklin St.
Davalos expressed concern about allowing Richardson to work remotely because city property was leaving the premises and Richardson was taking too long to perform the duties she was assigned.
According to the lawsuit Richardson needed to take library materials home to catalog them, and she had always done an excellent job with her tasks. Additionally, Richardson received praise in her August 2022 performance evaluation for exceeding or meeting all goals. On June 9, the California Civil Rights Department issued a letter authorizing Richardson to sue under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
In her lawsuit, Richardson names Human Resources Manager Lindsey Bishop and Assistant City Attorney Megan Maravich. Richardson is seeking damages for the emotional distress caused by the incident.
I had hoped that this pandemic would serve as a catalyst for more home-based working and studying, as well as real dialogues about how to make businesses and schools more accommodating of everyone, not just disabled individuals. Remote work makes the workforce more accessible, and should be seen as an asset for employers.
Cartwright , Brayden. “Librarian Sues after She’s Told to Return to Work despite Disability.” Palo Alto Daily Post, Dave Price and Jim Pavelich, 3 Sept. 2023, padailypost.com/2023/09/03/librarian-sues-after-shes-told-to-return-to-work-despite-disability/.