Jackson v. Birmingham, Alabama, City of et al
COMPLAINT against Birmingham Library Board, The, Birmingham, Alabama, City of, filed by Karen Jackson.(BST, )
2011 Jul-21 AM 09:55
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
THE CITY OF BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA and
THE BIRMINGHAM LIBRARY BOARD
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
This is a suit for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended,
42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et. seq. and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
The jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, as amended.
The unlawful employment practices and acts of discrimination about which the
Plaintiff complains were committed in Jefferson County, Alabama.
Plaintiff, Karen Jackson, is a female citizen of the United States over the age of
nineteen (19) and is a resident of the State of Alabama.
Defendant, City of Birmingham, Alabama is a municipal entity in the State of
Defendant, The Birmingham Library Board, is an entity created by Birmingham City
Code Section 2-5-71, et al. and is subject to suit in this Court.
The Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) within 180 days of the acts of discrimination
of which she now complains.
The Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from the EEOC within 90
days of filing this action.
All conditions precedent to the institution of this lawsuit have been fulfilled.
The Defendants operate the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library.
The Plaintiff has been employed by the Defendants since on or about September
The Plaintiff is a supervisor whose present title is Librarian I.
During the course of the Plaintiff’s employment, she has been subjected to severe
and pervasive sexually charged conduct by both library patrons and certain
members of the library’s male staff, including security staff.
Library patrons are routinely allowed to view pornographic images on library
computers, often in the presence of minor children.
Library patrons regularly engage in other offensive sexual conduct such as
masturbation in the library with the knowledge of management and/or the security
Library management has been aware of patron masturbation in the Youth
Department in the presence of children.
Library patrons have made improper, sexually charged advances on the Plaintiff.
On one occasion, a patron who had been repeatedly making advances on the
Plaintiff forcibly grabbed her by the arm and held her stating “I won’t take no for
The Plaintiff has been followed around the library by patrons who have engaged
in sexual misconduct there.
Members of the male security staff employed by the Defendants have stood
together ogling female patrons in the Plaintiff’s presence.
Security employees have rebuffed the Plaintiff’s complaints about their own
On at least one occasion, a security guard has made an advance on another female
employee of the library.
Some examples of the sexual misconduct that the Defendants allow in the library
include patron masturbation in the Youth Department, the Social Sciences
Department, and the Business, Science & Technology Department; masturbation
and other sexual acts in the library bathrooms.
On at least one occasion, an older male patron in the library approached a young
boy and attempted to fondle him.
On at least one occasion, a male patron was allowed to watch a sexually charged
movie in which sexual acts were simulated right next to a 7 year old boy.
Library management has known about at least one male patron they knew was
masturbating in the library but refused to remove him from the library or ban him,
instead simply shooing him from department to department when he would
engage in the activity.
Sexual misconduct in the library has taken place in the presence of the Plaintiff on
a regular and ongoing basis.
The Plaintiff has reported incidents of sexual misconduct to management.
Other employees have also made similar complaints and reports of the situation to
The Defendants, including upper level library management, members of the
Birmingham Library Board of Directors, the Birmingham City Council and the
Mayor of the City of Birmingham have essentially ignored employee reports of
sexual misconduct in the downtown library management and have failed to
address the matter.
Upper level managers of the library, including Associate Director Angela Hall
(second in command) and Public Service Coordinator Sandi Lee (third in
command) admit that there is continuous sexual misconduct in the downtown
library in the form of patrons viewing pornography, masturbating and other types
of aggressive behavior such as following around female employees.
Ms. Hall admits that for many years the problem has not been addressed by library
management as it should have been.
The Director of the Birmingham Public Library is Rene Blaylock.
When employees have complained to the Director about sexual misconduct taking
place in the library, she has stated to them “If you don’t like it, leave.”
Ms. Lee has also stated to complaining employees “If you don’t like it leave.”
On at least one occasion, a library manager has become angry with another
employee who wanted to call the police about a sexual incident, saying “why
would you want to do that?”
Often, when complaints have been made to security and/or to the management
staff, no incident or other report is made of the incident.
When the library brought in a “consultant” to attempt to address the hostile work
environment concerns of the Plaintiff and other female librarians, its Chief of
Security, Mike Lee, admits he believed it was a waste of time and that he made
jokes during the “consultant’s” presentation.
Long periods of time go by on a daily basis when there is no security guard in
sight in the Plaintiff’s department where sexual misconduct often occurs.
Management has responded to the Plaintiff regarding the situation by stating if the
sexual misconduct was known “it would be a public relations nightmare.”
The sexually aggressive conduct in the library and the lack of adequate security
causes the Plaintiff to fear for her safety.
The Plaintiff has had to seek medical care as a result constantly having to work in
the sexually hostile work environment.
The environment at the downtown branch of the Birmingham Public Library is
unsafe for the Plaintiff, for other female employees and for children whose parents
are unaware of the situation.
TITLE VII - Sexual Harassment
(Hostile Work Environment)
The Plaintiff adopts and re-alleges each paragraph set forth above as if fully set forth
The above-described wrongful conduct on the part of the Defendants constitutes the
creation and/or allowance of a sexually charged hostile work environment in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §
2000(e) et. seq. and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Plaintiff respectfully requests the entry
of judgment under Title VII against the Defendants for sexual harassment and/or hostile work
environment, pursuant to an Order by which the Court:
awards compensatory damages for mental anguish;
awards punitive damages;
awards injunctive relief;
awards that equitable relief which is fair, reasonable and just;
awards a reasonable attorney's fee; and
taxes costs against the Defendants.
PLAINTIFF DEMANDS TRIAL BY A STRUCK JURY.
s/Adam P. Morel
Adam P. Morel
ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF
LAW OFFICES OF ADAM MOREL, LLC
517 Beacon Parkway West
Birmingham, Al 35209
Telephone (205) 945-9210
Facsimile (205) 943-9338
Please Serve Defendants by Certified Mail
The Birmingham Public Library Foundation
c/o Renee Blalock, Registered Agent
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, AL 35203
The City of Birmingham, Alabama
c/o Paula R. Smith, City Clerk
Office of the City Clerk
City Hall-3rd Floor
710 North 20th Street
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
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