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Laid Off Library Employees Claim Discrimination

Board votes to lay off two stay-at-home moms who did not conform to hour changes.

Two female employees claimed they were discriminated against after the library Board of Trustees voted unanimously to lay them off Monday for not coming to work on a night or weekend shift when they said they had to watch their kids.

The employees, Ann Kaplan, 48, and Marilyn Giancaterino, 47, will be given 45 days notice that they are being laid off for reasons of efficiency, but both women were in attendance at Monday night's meeting and spoke after the board voted. Their positions are not expected to be filled.

Kaplan told the board she had been a part-time library assistant at the library since 2007 and that she had traditionally worked 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. In November, Kaplan said she was informed by Library Director Allan Kleiman that she would need to enter a rotation to work some nights and weekends, but she said she told him she was unable to work nights because of "family obligations."

The issue came before the board and in public because the employees were Rice noticed that issues regarding their employment would be discussed at the meeting and the employees chose to have the matters discussed in open session.

Kleiman said the issues arose when all library employees were asked to go on a rotating schedule out of fairness for each other. The new rotation asked the employees to work one Sunday per month and one or two evenings per month, Kleiman said.

Kleiman said that out of 12 employees, Kaplan and Giancaterino were the only two who took issue with the rotation. After not showing up for work during the scheduled shifts, which both woman said they talked to Kleiman about, they were issued notices of insubordination.

Kleiman added that all employees, including himself, are included in the responsibilities of the rotation, which began two years ago.

"I work Sundays, I work evenings," he said. "We need to be able to have staff help us fill those hours so that we can operate seven days."

Board Attorney Ann Grossi told the board they had options, which included taking disciplinary action or laying off the employees. But Grossi discouraged the board from taking disciplinary action because she said the process can be both lengthy and costly.

"Discipline is supposed to be used in order to correct a situation," she said. "Both of them feel that they cannot work those hours under any circumstances."

Both Kaplan and Giancaterino said they were formerly stay-at-home moms who worked at the library part-time and both said they were hired under daytime-only hours. Giancaterino has been an employee of the library for three years, she said.

"I truly feel as though I'm being discriminated against as a former full-time, stay-at-home mother getting back into the workforce," Kaplan said.

Giancaterino told the board that she attempted to work with the schedule, but that it became too difficult because she had to care for her son and her mother. 

Grossi also said that she had been in touch with the employees' union and that "the union's position is that we don't have the right to change the schedules."

"Our position is that we do have the right to do it," she said.

After the meeting, Kaplan said she does not plan to appeal the board's decision, but that she is disappointed.

"I'm disappointed because I just feel like we didn't really get our chance," Kaplan said. "I love it here. I love it. I finally found something that I love to do. I was just really happy here."

Giancaterino said she is unsure whether she will try to fight the decision of the board, but she does not think she or Kaplan would qualify for unemployment since they were part-time employees.

mark April 17, 2012 at 11:23 AM
the library has been doing this to its employees for years - the minute you bring up that you are being discriminated against they give you some sort of demand that they know you cannot fulfill - it is like chldlren you open your mouth and you get punished - i know - kleinman has no life so he works he is no hero just a puppet the people of montville need to stand up finally to this board and stop what they are doing
pReTTyLiGhTs April 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM
It so hard to find really well paying part time easy jobs thse days. Now there are two more people to compete with.
Maxim Sapozhnikov April 17, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I understand, and partly commiserate with, the plight of stay-at-home moms unwilling to part with their children at late evening hours. It is also a pity to lose two librarians on whose skills and services I use to rely. However, whatever compassion I had for them evaporated the moment they aired a "discrimination" claim. I hope the Board will find a proper replacement soon.
jf April 17, 2012 at 03:16 PM
If everyone is being asked to make this adjustment then it is only fair that these women conform to this request otherwise it is unfair to the other employees who are willing to make the concession in order to keep their jobs. Are the women not employees "at will" which means they are like most corporate employees susceptible to being laid off without notice???? Why do library employees need a union!!! What "protected group" do these women belong to that justifies their claim of discrimination? They're not being asked to do something that all other employees haven't been asked to do? Our town employees need to get a grip and grow some backbone! If you love your job so much then get a babysitter the one or two times per month you need to. Lots of women have to find daily daycare for children in order to hold down a job. Sorry if I just don't get their plight.
Louise April 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM
jf, I am so with you. Others get daycare to cover hours they need to work. Most of corporate America in fact, where we can be let go at any time. The time isn't ideal for them -one or two days a month? Gimme a break. They should be let go. If you can't work the hours required, goodbye.
Kelly April 18, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The whole cry of discrimination is just silly.
Yvette April 18, 2012 at 02:37 PM
- talk about fairness? Where... If a person signs up for a specific schedule, than that's the schedule they should work! If a change is required, those employees should be able to say yes or no to the request without fear of repercussion. Ask if everyone is "happy" to make the changes, chances are they are not! Will they speak up, heck No! They will run the same fate. It's not like these employees were making top dollar! The library spends more on the salaries of its bureaucrats than its employees...and yes lots of mothers go to work each day and make the choice to leave their children at daycare... Because the pay they receive at the end of the work week is much more than the daycare they just paid!! There is no place that work, schedules and pay is truly fair!
Kelly April 18, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Yvette, a job is a job. If a person can't work the weekend or evenings and the boss says they must, they must. All the employees made the change except the two mom's. It's their choice. In the private sector that is how it is. The public sector should be the same.
Louise April 18, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Right on, Elizabeth. Do these woman have infants? If not worst case, maybe the children come along and spend a few hours reading while they work if they can't find a babysitter? Sounds like they are trying to work the system. I have no respect for them. Just seems like the hours weren't to their liking so they didn't show up. And if they work so few hours and are not paid well, I presume this is just a nice-to-have pocket money kind of job, not really needed to pay real bills like a mortgage. Unless they get benefits?? Please I hope not. So let someone else have it if you can't suck it up like everyone else.
poptart April 18, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I really do not like this library. I agree with Elizabeth though in that a job is a job. If you can't work the hours needed than why shouldn't the people be let go. But this library is just awful. I have yet to go to the library and take a book that is available. Always have to get it from another. This library employees the rudest and nastiest person at the desk and I'm sure you all know who I'm talking about. And they don't allow tutoring at the library anymore.
Kelly April 18, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Exactly Louise, this is a part-time job for these mom's. Extra cash which was fine when the hours were good for their families. I get that. But times are hard now and those mom's also have to pitch in like the rest of the employees, part time or full time. It's like someone quitting a job because they don't like the hours but then file for unemployment. Not that they are doing that but it's selfish. Give those hours to those who can work. Why are they complaining? At least they still had a job.
Yvette April 19, 2012 at 03:29 AM
Ladies, Elizabeth & Louise!! I hate to dissapoint you! I work in the "private" sector and when my boss tried to change my hours...I did protest! All the way to the CEO!! And yes they pulled my application and they discovered....what I said all along.... I signed up for 9-5 Monday thru Friday! not for any available time...therefore, I won... My schedule was not changed...as for pocket money, so what if they if that's what they do! And you both might be correct....in life it's all about choices...and their choice was to fight for what they felt was right and just for them...as to discrimination...well that's how they must have felt...one must walk a mile in other peoples shoes to know their cause, their lives, their feelings...this person could one day be one of you, your sister, your daughters...standing up for what they believe!!
Kelly April 19, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Yvette, these are part-time workers not full-time like yourself. They have no benefits or security since they work part-time. What do they do when school is out? Do they work at the library or do they stay home? They have absolutely no right to demand that they NOT partake in the changes. Talk to a minority about discrimination, not a person who works part-time and demands certain rights that the rest of the staff doesn't enjoy. These woman have no basis to cry discrimination in regards to those facts. Don't they realize that now there names are in the public eye and the next job they go to interview will know that they cried "discrimination"? Not sure if I would hire them. I understand "feelings", but life isn't fair and using the word "discrimination" doesn't help their cause.

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