Report: “2 Library Workers Sue New Orleans, Claim Criticism Stifled By Social Media Policy”
UPDATE: The complaint filed in the case can be accessed here (full text).
Two public library workers have filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and her top deputy, alleging that a June 2020 policy infringes on their free speech rights and threatens to punish them for any criticism they may express, even in their private lives.
Andrew Okun and Erin Wilson filed the suit Thursday, claiming they initially balked at the new policy when it was announced in June but were required to sign onto it in August to keep their jobs. Both library employees are active on social media in their private time and are concerned the broad language of the new policy will prevent them from expressing certain beliefs or concerns.
City Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano issued revisions to Policy No. 83(R), on June 17, 2020, that specifically addressed employees’ use of social media, including what employees can say on private messaging channels such as Slack and Discord or while playing online video games at home. It bans employees from “engaging or responding to negative or disparaging posts about city departments, employees or policies.”
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.