When most people think of libraries, they picture places where everyone can learn and relax in a calm, quiet, pleasant atmosphere. However, some staff members from the Free Library of Philadelphia claim their employer is anything but welcoming. In fact, they allege that the Free Library is a place not just of educational and entertainment materials, but of bias and discrimination.
These claims against the public library came to the forefront in late 2018, when the library hosted a public survey of its employees. The survey was prompted due to tales of bias at an employee diversity training session late last fall. Instead of hearing positive responses, the library received tales of an unpleasant atmosphere, especially for women, members of the LGBTQ community, and various minority groups. Very quickly, the survey results were removed from public view, only to be brought back into the light by the librarians’ union.
Among other allegations, the survey included the following claims:
- Workers were treated unfairly because of their faith, sexual orientation, and other protected classifications.
- Workers were unable to attain promotions because they were not the preferred race or sexual orientation.
- Workers were forced to work with people who exhibited disdain for employee harassment and bias training.
- Workers were upfront with supervisors and executives about the bias they experienced, only to have it ignored.
Of the respondents, 86 percent said they observed or experienced racial bias at work, while 83 percent said they experienced racism, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia, among others.
More Victims Speak Out
Currently, the Philadelphia library system is in the process of asking for increased funding streams from the local government. Having a reputation for bias, discrimination, and potential harassment makes it more difficult for them to obtain the money to continue their mission. These allegations should be a warning sign that men and women are no longer comfortable remaining silent about bias and discrimination, regardless if it is a mega-corporation or a nonprofit entity. Although people may be hesitant to identify themselves for fear of retribution and reputation, they are increasingly willing to blow the whistle on employers that are fostering conditions conducive to harassment, racism, bias, and other disturbing cultural behaviors.
Philadelphia Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Workers Suffering from Discrimination and Harassment
If you or someone you know experienced discrimination in the workplace, the Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. are prepared to help you fight against all types of discrimination and bias. For a free consultation, call us at 215-569-1999 or fill out an online contact form. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and throughout South Jersey.