Employee Rights

Question

[NOTE:  This question was submitted in response to the guidance posted at Minor Employees and Obscenity in the Library.

After sharing your reply with my board, we have a follow-up question seeking clarification. The question is in regards to the following paragraph:

Answer

This question is an example of why clear, precise writing is so important.

To make sure no reader is in suspense, first I'll answer the member's question: I intended the guidance to convey the member's interpretation (with the information about accession, cataloging and appeal policy being supplied only after a parent expresses concern).


Question

We have a school district public library board considering requiring background checks for new employees. They are concerned that they may be legally required to background check all current employees. Would there be any legal reason they would need to do so?

Answer

[NOTE: for background to this short answer, please see the much longer "Ask the Lawyer" Background checks and fingerprinting for new employees, that addresses the tightrope walk/legal minefields of employee background checks.]


Question

How long can an association library (or other private museum or archive) hold open a job while an employee is out on disability due to a work-related injury?

Answer

Before answering this question, I have one over-arching comment: the member who sent this inquiry was wise to submit the question when they did; it is not the type of question to be handled without the input of a pro.[1]


Question

My questions involve background checks for potential new employees, fingerprinting, developing policies, procedures, and best practices.

Answer

This...is a big question.  It's only three short paragraphs.  But it's BIG.

It's "BIG" because the risks of getting this topic wrong are immense--from not only the obvious risks involving legal concerns, but risks involving ethics, privacy, and the goal at the heart of the issue: safety.


Question

We are a large (100-employee) school district public library. We are currently encouraging and educating employees on getting vaccinated, but not (yet) *requiring* vaccinations.

Answer

Over and over again, I am floored by the care, tenacity, and creativity of the libraries determined to provide services in a time of pandemic.  New York's libraries just don't give up.  This question shows the mechanics of that fighting spirit.


Question

Can an employer require a negative COVID test before an employee comes to work? We have discussed it on our [public library system] member directors list but have not come up with a clear yes or no answer.

Answer

Here's something positive and affirming I can say: it's possible that the members expressing different opinions on the member directors' list are actually all correct.


Question

The library is seeking information about a law stating that the library board has sole authority over public library staff benefits. The issue that needs to be addressed is a town board's attempt to eliminate a part-time employee's one week of paid leave per year that the library board granted [several years ago].

Answer

I recently had a chance to check in with the New York State Comptroller's legal department[1] on this very topic.

The reason I had to check in is because the most recent on-point authority I could find on this subject was from 1981. 


Question

The state's new paid sick leave law recently went into effect on September 30th. According to the state's website, eligibility requirements are as follows:

Answer

I wish I could reply to this excellent question with a plain "yes" or "no." But I cannot.

Why not?  Because, while as the member points out, a public library's "type" is relevant to this question, what may also be relevant is how the employees are being paid.  So answering this question requires a two-factor analysis:


Question

I work at a public library that is gradually reopening to the public. We employ quite a few librarians who trend older and have underlying health conditions. Many of these staff have been working remotely for the past few months, but not necessarily on tasks essential to their positions.

Answer

This is a heart-breaking question, and I am sure it has been a hard process to get to this phase in your operations and planning.


Question

I was recently contacted by my employer stating that someone had applied for unemployment benefits using my Social Security number name and Job title. My employer notified me by email to be aware of this but stated that they conducted a security audit and found that there was no breach on their end and that the matter was currently being investigated by the department of labor and FBI.

Answer

For this answer, we are again joined by Jessica Keltz, associate attorney at the Law Office of Stephanie Adams, PLLC.