Librarian sues after she’s told to return to work despite disability

Daily Post Staff Writer

A Mountain View librarian who was told she had to return to work despite having a compromised immune system is suing the city for allegedly refusing to accommodate her disability.

Marie Richardson, 54, of Menlo Park, asked to work from home four days a week, but HR said she needed to come in every day, according to the lawsuit.

“Richardson asked how her remote work posed an undue burden for the city but did not receive an answer,” says the lawsuit, filed by attorney Dylan Hackett on July 11.

Richardson started working for the city in October 2003 as a teen services librarian.

She was diagnosed with a disability that affects her immune system on Feb. 27, 2020, according to the suit.

Hackett didn’t specify what Richardson’s disability is. In January 2022, Library Services Director Karen Burnett said employees who were worried about the Omicron surge of Covid could work remotely.

Employees were required to return to work in March 2022.

Richardson asked to continue working from home and had a doctor’s note to back her request. She said she is more vulnerable to disease than her coworkers.
The city gave her a 90-day extension, and continued giving her extensions until May 8, 2023.

That’s when HR analyst Karin Davalos told Richardson that she was now required to appear fully on site along with the rest of the employees at 585 Franklin St., the lawsuit says.

Davalos said she had two other concerns with allowing Richardson to work remotely: city property was leaving the building, and Richardson was taking too long to complete her tasks.

“There were severe deficiencies in the cited reasons,” the suit says.

Job performance

Richardson needed to take library materials home to catalog them, and she had always done a good job with her tasks, the suit says.

Richardson was recognized in her August 2022 performance review for exceeding or meeting all expectations, the suit says.

The California Civil Rights Department on June 9 wrote a letter giving Richardson the right to sue under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Richardson names Human Resources Manager Lindsey Bishop and Assistant City Attorney Megan Maravich in her lawsuit.

Richardson is seeking damages for her “humiliation, physical and mental suffering, and distress,” the suit says.

The city hasn’t responded in court, and city spokeswoman Lenka Wright wouldn’t comment on the case.

Richardson’s attorney didn’t return a phone call yesterday.

Richardson was paid $49,445 plus benefits in 2021, according to Transparent California.


  1. I guess every employee has some physical or behavioral health issue which could be impacted by going to work. I question whether someone can still go shopping, movies, friend, the doctor, restaurants, parks, planes, etc if there is a condition that can be compomised by going to work.

  2. This is what long term disability is for. She should be removed and put on that program. I suspect that action would somehow cause her to discover she can come to work.

  3. Marie Richardson is an outstanding librarian and I am sure her contribution from off site is significant. Too bad the city can’t be more flexible.

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