[Jobs] Driver's license.doc

Reyazuddin, Yasmin Yasmin.Reyazuddin at montgomerycountymd.gov
Wed Apr 27 09:21:41 CDT 2011

Hi Dic, 
I like the letter and what you suggest. However, I also understand the
reason why employer put the statement about valid drivers license. 
It is the old argument. The blind were excluded from Jury duty because
of not having a driving license. We are out of the dark ages. We the
blind should assume that there will be the statement about driver
license but it may not be a requirement. Our purpose is to get into the
door of the employer. We can discuss transportation options when we get
the interview. 
About 11 years ago, when I had an appointment with the county, I was
volunteering in D.C. I had to take the metro and then the bus to get to
my interview. My metro ride was fine but then the bus failed me. I
called and let the employer know that I was running late by few minutes.
The employer understands transportation troubles. 
There are many jobs where the employer requires background checks. I
thinks the requirement for valid driver license is to insure that the
employee is truly the person he/she claims to be. 
Yasmin Reyazuddin 
Aging & Disability Services 
Montgomery County Government 
Department of Health & Human Services 
401 Hungerford Drive (3rd floor) 
Rockville MD 20850 
240-777-0311 (MC311) 
240-777-1556 (personal) 
240-777-1495 (fax) 
office hours 8:30 am 5:00 pm 
Languages English, Hindi, Urdu, Braille 

This message may contain protected health information or other
information that is confidential or privileged. If you are not the
intended recipient, please contact the sender by return mail and destroy
any copies of this material. 

Thank you.


-----Original Message-----
From: jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf
Of Dick Davis
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 9:41 AM
To: 'Jobs for the Blind'; 'Rehabilitation Counselor Mailing List'
Cc: 'Shawn Mayo'; 'Al Spooner'
Subject: [Jobs] Driver's license.doc

Hi Everyone,
I wrote this a short while ago, and thought it might be of help to the
rest of you. What I describe seems to be a rapidly growing problem.
Dick Davis 

National Federation of the Blind 

Employment Committee

100 E. 22nd St.

Minneapolis, MN 55404-2514


April 15, 2011


Dear Employer:


Over the past couple of years, I've seen a large number of job postings
that require a valid state driver's license. These job postings don't
require the kind of commercial driver's license needed by people who
drive professionally.  They require the kind of garden variety driver's
license that mom, dad, and the kids need to drive their car, minivan, or


The odd thing about the job postings I've seen that contain this
requirement is that most of them don't even list driving as an essential
job function. I know lots of blind jobseekers who were able to perform
all the essential functions of a job, but decided not to apply when they
saw the valid driver's license requirement.  


I'm sure there are good reasons why the valid driver's license
requirement finds its way into job descriptions (and it does into lots
of them). A valid driver's license permits employees to drive company
vehicles or use their own for work functions. It also serves as a handy
means of identification.  


But in my opinion, the requirement is discriminatory, because it
excludes blind people as a class.  That's because no blind person can
qualify for a state driver's license. If you know anything about civil
rights law, a requirement that excludes an entire class of people from
applying is a definite no-no.  That's especially the case when driving
isn't listed as an essential function of the job.   


The only time when such a requirement isn't discriminatory is when
operating a motor vehicle is an essential function of the job, and no
reasonable accommodation is available.  An example of this would be a
job where a significant portion of the employee's workday is spent
picking up people in the morning, driving them to a social service
program, and taking them back home in the afternoon.  


It would be unreasonable for a blind person to apply for that kind of
job. But if, on the other hand, the job just required some travel, it
would be reasonable for the individual to apply.  Blind people use mass
transit, taxis, shuttle vans, intercity buses, trains, planes, and paid
drivers to get from place to place.  They do so efficiently, and they've
been doing it for decades.  


In that case, requiring that the blind person have a valid driver's
license and drive a company car would be discriminatory, since
reasonable accommodations like the ones listed above are in fact
available.  The argument "because we've always done it that way" isn't
going to hold up in court if the blind person files a civil rights
complaint.  I know, because I've served as an expert witness in a number
of discrimination cases.  


So, what is an employer to do?  I think the best approach is to leave
the valid driver's license requirement out of the job description
entirely unless driving (not just getting from place to place, but
actually operating a motor vehicle) is an essential function of the job,
and no reasonable accommodation is available.  


If the job requires travel, say so, and say how much travel is required,
but don't specify the method that must be used. Let the blind job
applicant figure that out, and if the explanation seems reasonable to
you, hire them.  If you want an employee to have identification, say
that you want a "valid state driver's license or state ID".  Blind
people can get state ID's, the same amount of proof is required, and
they look virtually the same.  


In a broader sense, make sure all your job descriptions state the
essential functions in detail, but avoid specifying the exact methods to
be used. And especially avoid physical requirements like "good vision"
unless you are absolutely certain that there is no way a person can
perform the tasks using nonvisual methods.  (The only way you can be
absolutely certain is if you know a lot about blindness and blind
people, which isn't usually the case.)   


A couple of final points - blind people are not stupid; they have no
interest in taking unreasonable risks, or failing and getting fired.  If
an individual doesn't think they can perform the required functions,
they won't apply, and if they do, they'll be prepared to describe how
they can do it. 


It's simple, it's fair, and it beats heck out of having to respond to a
civil rights complaint.  


Best wishes,

Richard "Dick" Davis

Committee Chair


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