[nabs-l] Employment Accessibility

Brice Smith brice.smith319 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 15 02:20:43 UTC 2012


So, what are your options for making employment software and websites
accessible if they are not currently accessible?

I'm in the third round of interviews for an incredible position with a
company that uses online software, websites and content management
systems for everything and I am not sure if they are accessible with
screen readers. After a couple of well disguised questions during the
interview, I managed to obtain the names of programs employees rely on
to share, post, create and manage information -- and I've never heard
of them. Stressing over "will JAWS work with this?" or "how can I
possibly access this?" should ABSOLUTELY NOT be something blind
applicants have to deal with in addition to everything else that comes
with finding a job after college. And yet, it's one of the most
pressing and concerning questions many of us face.

I'm genuinely curious: what's the best way to handle this? If you've
never heard of the programs and Googling the software name plus
"accessibility" or "JAWS" yields nothing, what can you do? What should
you do?

Brice

On 6/13/12, David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com> wrote:
> Please get your information straight.  The ADA does not currently
> cover web sites.  It is likely too in the future but currently doesn't.
>
> Apple stuff is primarily consumer-oriented, and while they should be
> applauded for their efforts in accessibility, they do not even come
> close in giving us the tools we sometimes need to make
> employment-oriented web sites and software accessible.
>
> Dave
>
> At 02:19 PM 6/12/2012, you wrote:
>>I'm hoping, some what fancifully, that five years from now all employers
>>will be using Apple products and  many jobs will become accessible.  If
>>we sue employers for not having accessible soft ware, it might push them
>>towards the accessibility conversion.  I have two clients right now who
>>may get fired because JAWS isn't working well with the employer's
>>technology.  This is a form of discrimination and it violates the ADA in
>>the same way that inaccessible web cites violate the ADA. I have a
>>client who was denied a job interview even though he's worked in the
>>field because he wasn't working with the Lighthouse.  All of these
>>people should have jobs and probably would if the ADA were enforced.
>>
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>Behalf Of Sophie Trist
>>Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 12:40 PM
>>To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
>>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>You make some very good points. I did not know that most employers ask
>>for Lighthouse certification. This is bad for people like me who are not
>>affiliated with a Lighthouse because they remind oo much of the schools
>>of the blind. As to the inaccessible computer programs, maybe we should
>>institute a program where we payed them to install acessible programs?
>>I'm not entirely sure, that's just an idea.
>>
>>  ----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Wasif, Zunaira" <Zunaira.Wasif at dbs.fldoe.org
>>To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>><nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>Date sent: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:00:57 -0400
>>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>Sometimes extreme measures are required to overcome attitudinal hurdles
>>such as this one.  I haven't made up my mind about the quota but I know
>>that it helped African Americans enter the work place.   Maybe
>>the only
>>way to quickly and effectively remedy this employment issue is through
>>reverse discrimination.  The legislation is there in the form of the ADA
>>and rehab acts, but it isn't implemented.  I work with clients every day
>>who can't get a job because the employer's computer system is running a
>>program that is incompatible with JAWS or Zoom text.  The fact that
>>employers are still purchasing this type of software is discriminatory!
>>It is the equivalent of not providing an elevator in a multiple level
>>building. Maybe the best antidote for this type of discrimination is
>>reverse discrimination.  The NFB is advocating for "more programs," but
>>the potential applicant shouldn't have to go through a lighthouse or
>>through any program.  They should be able to apply off of the street
>>like anyone else.  A blind applicant shouldn't require a certification
>>from a Lighthouse saying that they can type before an employer will even
>>interview them.  I'm working in this field and I see that happen every
>>day.  If a visually impaired client calls Hilton for a customer service
>>job the first question the recruiter asks is, "are you working with the
>>Lighthouse?"  The reason that companies do this is because they want
>>their corporate tax credit and they want assurance from the Lighthouse
>>that the blind person has the skills for the job.  My question is, how
>>do they find out if a nonvisually impaired employee has the skills?
>>They want an incentive to hire disabled people.  The attitude is "oh,
>>yeh?  You want me to hire a blind person?  You better give me a tax
>>break."  In other words, they are saying, "Oh yeh?  You better pay me to
>>hire that blind person."  This is the current situation.  Our government
>>pays people to hire disabled workers and companies like Goodwill thrive
>>off of this.  In job development exercises we are taught to market the
>>corporate tax credit, not the client.  How is this any better than the
>>quota system?  I'm not saying the quota system is perfect, but maybe
>>it's the best option we have right now. Maybe its an effective way of
>>proving that "we are worth something."    If there is a better
>>option I
>>would love to hear it so I can advocate for it in my agency and make
>>change.
>>
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>[mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>Behalf Of Sophie Trist
>>Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:26 AM
>>To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
>>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>The issue of hiring quotas for minority groups has popped up in the
>>past, and it has caused nothing but controversy. If there is to be
>>ahiring quota for disabled people, non-disabled people who were rejected
>>or whose jobs were taken away and given to the disabled could argue
>>reverse--discrimination. Besides, we want them to hire us because we're
>>worth something, not just because they have to fill a certain quota.
>>Evem mentally disabled individuals can perform simple factory jobs.
>>
>>  ----- Original Message -----
>>From: "Wasif, Zunaira" <Zunaira.Wasif at dbs.fldoe.org
>>To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>><nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>Date sent: Tue, 12 Jun 2012 09:57:06 -0400
>>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>What do people think about a hiring quota for disabled people?
>>This
>>would render Good Will's argument, that disabled people need to settle
>>for subminum wages or no wages, obselete.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org
>>[mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
>>Behalf Of Kirt Manwaring
>>Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 6:03 PM
>>To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
>>Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>Ashley,
>>   You said there may not be a set corporate policy, and I suppose you're
>>probably right.  But there should be, and that's why this boycott makes
>>sense to me.  If you have some branches paying any employees below the
>>minimum wage, you really do need a national policy to set that straight.
>>Unfortunate, but true.  I really think it is that simple...this is one
>>of those few issues where there isn't much of a grey area, in my humble
>>opinion.
>>   Take it or leave it,
>>Kirt
>>
>>On 6/11/12, Ashley Bramlett <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> wrote:
>>  Elizabeth,
>>  Perhaps, the figure supports my theory that in fact most employees are
>>
>>  paid
>>
>>  above minimum wage. As Arielle said, most locations vary in what they
>>pay. I
>>
>>  don't think there is a set corporate policy.
>>
>>  Ashley
>>
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: Elizabeth
>>  Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 2:24 PM
>>  To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
>>  Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>  Hi Greg,
>>
>>  Please forgive me as I did not read through the entire article you make
>>reference to in your post. However, now that I have read it, I am
>>
>>  still wondering how they can come up with an average of $7.47 when
>>someone is only making $1.44. I am not a math genius by any means, but
>>
>>  it would seem to me that if someone is only making $1.44, and the
>>average is $7.47, then that would mean someone is making a considerable
>>amount more than what most people are making to achieve  such an
>>average. Does this make any sense? I am not necessarily questioning the
>>information you cited from the article, but rather  questioning the
>>information that was cited in the article itself.
>>  There is just something about it that does not make sense to me.
>>I am
>>  sorry that I cannot find a better way to explain it.
>>
>>  Warm regards,
>>  Elizabeth
>>
>>  --------------------------------------------------
>>  From: "Greg Aikens" <gpaikens at gmail.com
>>  Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 12:26 PM
>>  To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>>  <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>  Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>  Hi Elizabeth,
>>  I should have included my sources.  The first was the article recently
>>posted to the list by Anil Lewis:
>>
>>http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/208068/189/Goodwill-Pays-Disabl
>>ed-E
>>  mployees-Less-than-Minimum-Wage This article gives the number of
>>employees impacted and their average wage.  The reason that an average
>>wage of $7.47 could still be below minimum wage is because  many states
>>have minimum wage laws that are higher
>>
>>  than the federal minimum wage.  For  a quick list of minimum wage by
>>state, go to:
>>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._minimum_wages
>>
>>  Please check my facts in case I misread.
>>
>>  -Greg
>>
>>  On Jun 11, 2012, at 11:16 AM, Elizabeth wrote:
>>
>>  Hi Gregg,
>>
>>  I have to say that your numbers to not make much sense to me. If these
>>employees are making $7.47 as mentioned in your post, , then  how
>>exactly
>>
>>  does that constitute as a subminimum wage? Is it possible the
>>calculated
>>
>>  average of these employees also includes the outrageously high salaries
>>of those who may hold management positions which in effect would cancel
>>out the extremely low subminimum wages paid to the factory worker or the
>>
>>  average employee thus creating an average that appears to be above  the
>>national minimum wage? I am not sure where you found your numbers, but
>>if
>>
>>  what you state is true, then I do not see how this would be an issue
>>
>>  of paying people subminimum wage.
>>
>>  Warm regards,
>>  Elizabeth
>>
>>
>>  --------------------------------------------------
>>  From: "Greg Aikens" <gpaikens at gmail.com
>>  Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 10:46 AM
>>  To: "National Association of Blind Students mailing list"
>>  <nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>  Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Good Will Boycott Etc.
>>
>>  Sean's post got me thinking about how many employees are actually
>>impacted by this policy and how much it would cost for them to actually
>>
>>  make these changes.  According to the article Anil Lewis posted, 7300
>>employees are hired on their certificate to pay disabled  workers less
>>than minimum wage, but the average wage paid them is  $7.47, which is
>>actually higher than the federal minimum wage of  $7.25.  I can't say
>>what the average minimum wage for these workers
>>
>>  would be because each state is different, but I wouldn't imagine it
>>
>>  could be higher than $8.50.  So they would have to on average pay
>>workers with disabilities
>>  $1 more per hour, $40 more per week, $2080 per year.  Multiply that
>>
>>  by the 7300 employees on the certificate and you get $15,184,000.
>>
>>  I was surprised that the number of workers impacted by this policy  is
>>so
>>
>>  high.
>>
>>  Anyway, I thought these numbers were interesting and thought I would
>>post in case others are interested too.
>>
>>  -Greg
>>  On Jun 10, 2012, at 6:45 PM, Gmail wrote:
>>
>>  Good afternoon,
>>
>>  One of the primary purposes of the boycott is to garner media attention
>>
>>  for
>>  the minimum wage issue. The boycott effort and PR/media efforts are
>>complementary rather than mutually exclusive.
>>
>>  We "pick on" Good Will because they are one of, if not the, largest and
>>
>>  most
>>  visible nonprofits who take advantage of the current law to pay workers
>>
>>  with
>>  disabilities subminimum wages. When you're the biggest fish in the
>>
>>  pond you're going to get noticed and your actions will be scrutinized
>>by people in and out of your field. That's just the  way it goes.
>>
>>  Most of these workshops do the vast majority of their business with the
>>federal government, providing goods and services through non-competitive
>>set-aside contracts. These goods and services are frequently provided at
>>costs that exceed their fair market value.
>>  Obviously Good Will has their hands in other activities as well, but
>>the point stands. If taxpayers are being asked to subsidize nonprofits
>>to create employment opportunities
>>
>>  for
>>  blind or otherwise disabled individuals, and we all, in effect,
>>subsidize the very good, and sometimes exorbitant, salaries of the
>>
>>  management of
>>
>>  these
>>  non-profits, why is it a bad idea to subsidize the wages of disabled
>>individuals, even those who may not be able to produce  output
>>justifying the minimum wage in the market?
>>
>>  I think that the number of disabled folks in these workshops who are
>>incapable of truly earning the minimum wage is much lower than
>>
>>  most people assume. And, again, if there is somebody whose level of
>>output truly only justifies $1.50 per hour, I am happy to subsidize the
>>wage to give them
>>
>>  the
>>  dignity of equal treatment under the law.
>>
>>  I myself worked for a time in a shop and was paid less than $4 per
>>
>>  hour. I'm worth more than that. I saw others in the very same boat.
>>The law is discriminatory, and the system is corrupt and  fails to
>>achieve its stated goals. Not only should the minimum  wage apply, but
>>organizations wishing to receive preferential  treatment in government
>>contracting should have to
>>
>>  fill
>>  a stated percentage of their managerial positions with folks with
>>disabilities and offer true training and upward mobility. As it stands
>>
>>  now,
>>  there is no real opportunity in the vast majority of these workshops.
>>
>>  While it is true that, generally speaking, the NFB only speaks for
>>
>>  the blind, on this issue we have over 40 different disabilities rights
>>organizations standing shoulder to shoulder with us saying  that it is
>>reprehensible that we, today in the United States of  America, have a
>>law on the books that codifies the inferiority and
>>
>>  lesser ability of those with disabilities. We, and they, are completely
>>correct. The boycott of Good
>>
>>  Will
>>  is but one piece of the larger effort. It is incumbent upon each of us
>>
>>  to
>>  keep pressure on our Members of Congress to change the law. Will it
>>cost Good Will and other non-profits more money to pay all  their
>>workers minimum wage? Yes, it will. Is the tiny increase in  cost
>>realistically going to
>>
>>  lead
>>  to the loss of job opportunities as many of the workshops claim?
>>I
>>
>>  can't see how it would. In fact, it won't. And the argument is
>>disingenuous and, frankly, pretty disgusting. Say a shop worker
>>currently makes $1.50 an
>>
>>  hour.
>>  Say the law is changed and minimum wage now applies. Say the employee
>>is now paid $7.50 an hour. That's an extra $6 an hour, an
>>
>>  extra $240 a week, and $12,480 a year. Say Good Will has 100 employees
>>of whom this is the case (in reality there are fewer).
>>  This would represent an annual cost increase
>>
>>  of
>>  $1,248,000 to Good Will. That's a lot of money to you or me, but a
>>
>>  pittance to this giant non-profit. The same can be said of smaller
>>
>>  shops, just on a smaller scale. The argument that all the poor
>>unemployable disabled folks will be sent home jobless if the law is
>>changed is bogus and cynical.
>>  As I
>>  said before, the majority of these shops get the majority of their
>>
>>  business through non-competitive contracts with the government, so
>>
>>  the additional labor cost would be built right into the price the
>>government pays.
>>  And, as
>>  I also said, I am happy to have my tax dollars go to affirm the
>>dignity, value and legal equality of all individuals rather than to
>>support the
>>
>>  70,
>>  80, 100k salaries of the management types at these shops who somehow
>>sleep at night under the illusion, or maybe delusion, that
>>
>>  they are doing something positive for people with disabilities.
>>  It's wrong, it's disgusting, and, yes, it hits a raw nerve with me
>>
>>  because I've lived it. If there is a minimum wage it should apply  to
>>everybody in the employment market, full stop.
>>
>>  Sean
>
>
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