[Jobs] Driver's license.doc

Gail Snider gsnider at clb.org
Thu Apr 28 10:40:08 CDT 2011


Right on! In a situation where we can feel discouraged by the ignorance of prospective employers, it's great to read an account of an employer responding well.  I think that more such anecdotal evidence would really help to encourage anyone out there who is trying to be a victor while still feeling like a victim


Gail Snider
Information and Referral Specialist
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 210
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240-737-5170
Fax: 301-589-7281
Email: gsnider at clb.org
Web: www.clb.org

-----Original Message-----
From: jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Dick Davis
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 11:00 AM
To: 'Jobs for the Blind'
Subject: Re: [Jobs] Driver's license.doc

Interesting discussion.  I agree that it is necessary for each of us to do what we can to make things better for blind people.  One of our graduates told me that the Guthrie Theatre, which is nationally known, had language in some of its job descriptions requiring good eyesight. I e-mailed them and explained how a blind person could do the job.  After a little back and forth, they said they'd learned a lot, thanked me, and said they would make the changes.  Bless them!  It is always a delight to run into intelligent people who can really understand what we're getting at.  Not too long afterward, they hired one of our graduates in a customer service position.
Is there a connection?  I don't know for sure, but I think there is.  So on a scale of one to ten, I give them a ten.  The lesson in all of this is that while it seems at times that the whole world is stupid about blindness, there are lots of sighted people out there who can understand and support our point of view.  Changing attitudes that are the product of millennia isn't going to happen as fast as we would wish.  But it won't happen at all
unless we insist that things change. Keep up the good fight.   
Dick 

-----Original Message-----
From: jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Albert J Rizzi
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 6:59 AM
To: 'Jobs for the Blind'
Subject: Re: [Jobs] Driver's license.doc

Well Ed,

I would also agree with you here. However, I do not see where any of the members of our community have made this a point nor have I heard tell of any dialogue  attempting to make it more appropriate. I am up against my counties title of the department aimed at helping the disabled. It is called the department for handicapped  services. when I asked why the insulting and degrading verbiage I was told that changing the name would cost to much money as it seems the letterhead and business cards hold precedent. It is ridiculous response that has prompted me to work with my legislature to change that amongst other things in my county. There needs to be a social paradigm shift both within the sighted community  as well as the disabled communities. if such wording bothers each of us, then each of us must draw attention to the issue and ask that it be changed. Otherwise, we must understand that in mainstream society a drivers license is just another formal state issued id which, for non drivers, sighted and blind alike, is replaced with a non drivers id. .

Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
Founder
My Blind Spot, Inc.
90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
New York, New York  10004
www.myblindspot.org
PH: 917-553-0347
Fax: 212-858-5759
"The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one who is doing it."


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-----Original Message-----
From: jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Edwin Rodriguez
Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2011 2:54 AM
To: 'Jobs for the Blind'
Subject: Re: [Jobs] Driver's license.doc

How about the concept that employers should ask for, forms of government identification rather than using the generic term "drivers license" after all it is 2011 and the government as an employer should set an example! I would argue that this is a direct form of discrimination and if you think I am exagerating,I would invite you to read the ADA which unfortunately many government employees I.E. politicians, have not!  

-----Original Message-----
From: jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Albert J Rizzi
Sent: April 27, 2011 10:25 AM
To: 'Jobs for the Blind'
Subject: Re: [Jobs] Driver's license.doc

I am in full agreement with you on this one Gail. I would ask that we all consider the requirement for providing a drivers license to mean a valid state id with picture. As it stands, if one were a driver previously, the same id assigned to your drivers license is the same one assigned to your state id, at least that is the practice in new york state. 

Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
Founder
My Blind Spot, Inc.
90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
New York, New York  10004
www.myblindspot.org
PH: 917-553-0347
Fax: 212-858-5759
"The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one who is doing it."


Visit us on Facebook LinkedIn



-----Original Message-----
From: jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:jobs-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Gail Snider
Sent: Wednesday, April 27, 2011 10:19 AM
To: Jobs for the Blind
Subject: Re: [Jobs] Driver's license.doc

I would like to add a comment about the NON-Driver's ID, such as the picture ID that I must have with me at all times.  When I am asked if I have a driver's license, I pull out my non-driver's picture ID and that does the job.  As a resident of Washington, DC, I have had to gain admittance to some pretty security-conscious places, be they Federal Government buildings or the local library.  In all circumstances, my ID serves as the equivalent of a driver's license, and I would encourage other blind people to give themselves credit for having a legal picture ID rather than being scared off by the term 'driver's license'.
 
Does anyone else have thoughts about this?
Gail Snider
Information and Referral Specialist
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
8720 Georgia Avenue, Suite 210
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone: 240-737-5170
Fax: 301-589-7281
Email: gsnider at clb.org
Web: ww <http://www.clb.org/> w.clb.org
 

________________________________

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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