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Jackson v. J. Lewis Crozer Library

August 31, 2010

DOROTHY JACKSON, PLAINTIFF
v.
J. LEWIS CROZER LIBRARY, ET AL. DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.

Dorothy Jackson was a part-time children's librarian at J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester, Pennsylvania. She suffers from macular degeneration and is unable to drive. The Crozer Library made the part-time children's librarian position into a full-time position and offered the full-time position to Ms. Jackson. After some discussions about whether Ms. Jackson was interested in the full-time position, the Crozer Library terminated her employment. Ms. Jackson filed this lawsuit alleging the termination was in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. § 951, et seq. I dismissed her federal claims and the case was heard in a bench trial on her remaining state law claims.*fn1

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Dorothy Jackson worked as the head librarian at J. Lewis Crozer Library in Chester, Pennsylvania from 1971 to 1976. She left that position when her family moved out of state.

2. In April, 1995, the Crozer Library hired Ms. Jackson as a part-time children's librarian.

3. At that time, James Gear was the director of the Crozer Library.

4. During the time Mr. Gear was the director, Ms. Jackson usually worked from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in her capacity as part-time children's librarian. She and Mr. Gear, however, would set her hours under mutual agreement.

5. At all material times, Ms. Jackson was an at-will employee of the Crozer Library.

6. Ms. Jackson's duties included organizing the children's library, arranging for children's programs to be held in the library building, and engaging in outreach activities.

7. Ms. Jackson has macular degeneration*fn2 and is legally blind.

8. Because of her macular degeneration, Ms. Jackson was unable to drive and relied on her husband to provide her with transportation to and from work.

9. Ms. Jackson functioned in her capacity as children's librarian at the Crozer Library with the condition of macular degeneration for approximately seven years.

10. In 2002, Mr. Gear retired as director of the Crozer Library.

11. In the Fall of 2002, the Crozer Library hired Katherine Newell as director of the Crozer Library. Ms. Newell previously had been the research director at the Hagley Museum and Library and a faculty member at Lincoln University. The Crozer Library searched for a new director for approximately one year.

12. As the director of the Crozer Library, Ms. Newell supervised between ten and twelve employees.

13. When Ms. Newell started, the staff often gossiped, came in late, ran errands during work hours, talked on their cell phones, and played games. At a June 17, 2003 staff meeting Ms. Newell informed her staff that she had spoken with Senator Dominic Pileggi, president of the Crozer Library Board of Directors, concerning the time she spent dealing with her employees' personal issues and that he urged her to "get rid of those people who are not willing to work with [her]." Ms. Newell was attempting to end the personal issues and gossip that interfered with the employees' ability to do their jobs.

14. Mr. Gear participated in a one-week orientation program for Ms. Newell when she became director. During this time, Mr. Gear told Ms. Newell that Ms. Jackson had macular degeneration and was unable to drive.

15. Ms. Jackson continued as children's librarian after Ms. Newell became director.

16. During the time she served as children's librarian on a part-time basis, Ms. Jackson also home schooled her son. Her part-time schedule at the library provided her with an opportunity to provide home schooling to her son.

17. At the time Ms. Newell became director, Ms. Jackson was still home schooling her son, who ...


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