[Jobs] Driver's license.doc

Kallie Decker kallie.decker at comcast.net
Thu Apr 28 10:33:50 CDT 2011

Yasmine, I have to respectfully disagree with you. Almost every job I have applied for in my field has asked for a valid driver's license, when it was not a listed function. In today's job market, when there are hundreds of applicants to choose from, in many cases our applications are discarded due to not meeting minimum qualifications.  There are other methods of identification, this  has got to change, and I feel should be a major focus of this organization. What good is training without employment, especially outside the disability/blindness fields? 
Just my thoughts, 
Kallie decker 

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 27, 2011, at 9:21 AM, "Reyazuddin, Yasmin" <Yasmin.Reyazuddin at montgomerycountymd.gov> wrote:

> 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 
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> -----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 SUV. 
> 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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