Friday, January 17, 2003

LEADING EMPLOYERS VIOLATING ADA

This report addresses the access problems encountered when I attempted to look for employment opportunities posted on the web sites of the top employers in the San Francisco's Bay.

These companies were listed by Fortune as the ‘‘Best Companies to Work For’’. If these companies truly deserve such an accolade they should respect the Americans with Disability Act’s Title 1 provisions. Not one of the following companies provide any accessibility information or, alternative modes for accessibility identified on the employment sections of their web site. All web sites, search engines and job postings are very inaccessible to vision impaired job seekers.

With the exception of Adobe Systems, these companies offered alternatives when I called their offices and identified myself as vision impaired. The alternatives offered was to transfer me to an extension in their HR departments. I was told these companies would make an accommodation whenever a person explains that they are vision impaired. It was not clear as to what they would do to accommodate me.

One suggestion was that staff in the HR department would accept my call and read over postings over the phone to me and accept my application for the available jobs. There was no indication as to whether I could contact them regularly for updates or, if they would send Internet accessible job information to me by email.

It is my informed opinion that, without direct access to the actual job postings on the Internet, vision impaired job applicants will be placed at a disadvantage. To the best of my knowledge these companies post many job offerings exclusively on their web site. My understanding of ADA’s Title 1 provisions is that these companies are in violation and their alternative access strategies (if any), are not sufficient.

As there are alternative accessibility solutions that can facilitate access by vision impaired people at very low cost (which will meet the ADA’s ‘’readily achievable’’ requirement, I would expect that they would be readily able to fix this problem. Companies like ION Systems, Inc. have suggested that these companies’ legal departments are hesitant to admit that they have a problem. All of the companies listed have been contacted by this company regarding their simple and inexpensive solution but, to date, none have responded.

In principal, the alternative access means offered by the companies whereby their HR staff would read their job listings over the phone – and any other means other than the Internet, would ‘flag’ vision impaired job applicants as ‘vision impaired’, making it possible to filter them out. Thereby, such alternative access is capable of discriminating against these applicants.

RESULTS OF SURVEY OF VISION IMPAIRED ACCESSIBILITY AT MAJOR BAY AREA EMPLOYERS

Adobe Systems
345 Park Ave.
San Jose, CA 95110-2704
Phone: 408-536-6000
Fax: 408-537-6000

Key People:
Officers & Employees
Co-Chairman: John E. Warnock,
age 61, $760,201 salary, $583,039 bonus
Co-Chairman: Charles M. Geschke,
age 62 SVP
Human Resources: Theresa Townsley

Adobe seems a clear cut case -- where in the end they put you though to a ‘Jobs Hotline’ extension that only tells you to “go to the Adobe web site – although I explained I was blind. Adobe’ HR was sent a letter about this issue last summer -- which they ignored completely. Adobe may also fall under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, because they are Federal Government contractors.

Adobe does accept a "Scannable PDF resume" to be mailed in to their staffing office but, the directions for preparing a "Scannable PDF resume" are only available on their website in very small type. Also, if you want to visit Adobe for an Interview, you must download a PDF form and fill it out.

I found no alternative means to find out about job listings with Adobe -- except on their website (the mailing address to send in a ‘scannable PDF resume’). They do not offer alternative job listings. They do offer applicants links to free email services.

Adobe’s telephone based ‘Job Hotline’ only recommended using their website, When I told their operators I was blind they put me though to the same ‘Job Hotline’ extension (where you could not lease a message.)

Agilent Technologies, Inc.
Company HQ Address
395 Page Mill Rd., PO Box 10395
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Phone: 650-752-5000
Fax: 650-752-5633
http://www.agilent.com

Key People
Officers & Employees
Chairman, President, and CEO: Edward W. (Ned) Barnholt, age 59, $941,666 salary (prior to title change)
EVP and COO: William P. (Bill) Sullivan,
age 52, $473,125 salary (prior to promotion)
SVP Human Resources: Jean M. Halloran, age 49

Agilient is a huge government contractor -- so they are certainly required to provide accessibility by Section 504. Agilient’s jobs website is not accessible for blind applicants using screen reader or low vision job seekers. No alternative accommodation is offered either. Only apply on-line and email communications. You must go to their web site for job information even when you call. But, when I told them I was blind they did give me the voicemail of the HR department.

The Charles Schwab Corporation
Company HQ Address
101 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-627-7000
Fax: 415-636-5970
www.schwab.com

Key People
Officers & Employees
Chairman and Co-CEO: Charles R. Schwab,
age 64, $650,003 salary
President, Co-CEO, and Director: David S. Pottruck,
age 53, $650,003 salary
EVP, Technology Innovation: Frederick E. Matteson
EVP, Human Resources: Mary McLeod

Their site was extremely difficult to even find the job application area. It took me several minutes to find it and it then is in an obscure pull down menu that would not be accessible to a screen reader or, to any low vision user. Everything was done through email. No alternative or accessibility information at all.

An interesting side note is that Charles Schwab himself was extremely dyslexic individual and has a foundation to benefit dyslexic individuals. The company therefore might be sensitive to being accused of mistreating people with a reading disability.

Through a call to their offices I was transferred to a recording ‘Job Hotline’ -- which only gave information about using their web site. When I pushed the operators again they did put me though to a person in HR who offered to help me personally.

Cisco Systems, Inc.
Company HQ Address
170 W. Tasman Dr.
San Jose, CA 95134
Phone: 408-526-4000
Fax: 408-526-4100
www.cisco.com

Key People
Chairman: John P. Morgridge, age 69
Vice Chairman:
Donald T. Valentine, age 70
President, CEO, and Director:
John T. Chambers,
age 53, $1 salary
SVP, Human Resources:
Kate D Camp

Their web site made no attempt at accessibility and the only way to apply for a job was through their web site.

I called their main number and the operator told me to go to their website but, when I told them I was blind, they did offer to put me through to the HR depsrtmentdepartment.

Genentech, Inc.
1 DNA Way
South San Francisco, CA 94080-4990 (Map)
Phone: 650-225-1000
Fax: 650-225-6000
http://www.gene.com

Key People
Chairman, President, and CEO: Arthur D. Levinson,
age 52, $780,000 salary, $985,000 bonus
EVP and CFO: Louis J. Lavigne Jr.,
age 53, $379,282 salary, $310,000 bonus
EVP, Development and Product Operations and Chief Medical Officer: Susan D. Desmond-Hellmann,
age 44, $500,491 salary, $425,000 bonus
VP, Human Resources: David Nagler,
age 49

There web site was set up very badly for low vision users also, they made no accessibility claim. Required email address to even apply for job. Upon identifing my self as blind they did put me through to a HR number.

Intel Corporation
2200 Mission College Blvd.
Santa Clara, CA 95052-8119 (Map)
Phone: 408-765-8080
Fax: 408-765-6284
Toll Free: 800-628-8686
http://www.intel.com

Key People
Chairman Emeritus: Gordon E. Moore,
age 73
Chairman: Andrew S. Grove,
age 65, $525,000 salary, $981,800 bonus
CEO and Director: Craig R. Barrett,
age 63, $575,000 salary, $1,075,300 bonus
President, COO, and Director: Paul S. Otellini,
age 51, $300,000 salary, $561,000 bonus
VP; Director, Human Resources: Patricia Murray

Intel recently named to list of 100 best companies for working mothers. I am sure that being in violation of the ADA would not go well with this award.

Their site was very difficult to use for a low vision and no effort for blind job applicants. Very poor for access.

When I called their offices I was told that I had to go to their web site but, when I explained that I am blind, I was transferred to a recording – telling me where to send my resume. However, there was no information on where or how to get job listings – other than their web site.

Intuit Inc.
2535 Garcia Ave.
Mountain View, CA 94043 (Map)
Phone: 650-944-6000
Fax: 650-944-3699
Toll Free: 800-446-8848
http://www.intuit.com

Key People
Chairman: William V. (Bill) Campbell,
age 62
Chairman, Executive Committee and Director: Scott D. Cook, age 50, $450,000 salary, $400,000 bonus
President, CEO, and Director: Stephen M. (Steve) Bennett, age 48, $950,000 salary, $3,000,000 bonus
SVP, Human Resources: Sherry Whiteley,
age 43

The Intuit Inc. web site was very difficult to use for a low vision job applicant and no effort for a blind applicant. But they did have an answering machine in the Staffing Department and would call applicants back.

Very poor for access

Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Company HQ Address
4150 Network Circle
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone: 650-960-1300
Fax: 408-276-3804
www.sun.com

Key People
Officers & Employees
Chairman, President, and CEO: Scott G. McNealy,
age 47, $100,000 salary, $487,500 bonus
EVP, People and Places and Chief Human Resources Officer: Crawford W. Beveridge,
age 56

The Sun web site was no better and required an email address for web access. They will accept email inquiries

eBay Inc. (was not one the 100 companies to work for).
2145 Hamilton Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
Phone: 408-376-7400
Fax: 408-376-7401

Key People
Officers & Employees
Chairman: Pierre M. Omidyar,
age 32
President, CEO, and Director: Margaret C. (Meg) Whitman, age 46, $241,256 salary, $139,332 bonus
COO: Maynard G. Webb Jr.,
age 46, $500,000 salary, $646,137 bonus (prior to promotion)
SVP Human Resources: Eileen Nelson,
age 55

The eBay site was very difficult to access for low vision or blind job applicants but, their operators put me through to their HR dept when I told them I am blind.

Oracle Corporation (was not one the 100 companies to work for).
500 Oracle Pkwy.
Redwood City, CA 94065
Phone: 650-506-7000
Fax: 650-506-7200

Key People
Officers & Employees
Chairman and CEO: Lawrence J. (Larry) Ellison, age 58
EVP, CFO, and Director: Jeffrey O. (Jeff) Henley,
age 57, $825,000 salary
SVP, Human Resources: Joyce Westerdahl

Oracle did have a phone number and a place to submit a resume by phone or, by fax. They did not offer any other contact information – which would behe only possible way to access the job listing. At least they did not require an email
address to fill out a job application.
_______________________________________________________________________________

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE WAS SENT TO TOP U.S. EMPLOYERS SELECTED FROM FORTUNE MAGAZINE'S "TOP COMPANIES TO WORK FOR". THERE HAS BEEN NO RESPONSE FROM ANY COMPANY CONTACTED TO DATE.

IT IS THE CORPORATE LAWYERS THAT TELL HR MANAGERS NOT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE LETTER. I BELIEVE IT IS BECAUSE OF THE WAY HR DEPARTMENTS 'FILTER' APPLICANT'S RESUMES AND JOB APPLICATIONS. ANYTHING THAT BRINGS SUCH PRACTICES INTO QUESTION IS CONSIDERED DANGEROUS BECAUSE ALL COMPANIES FILTER RESUMES BY SOME MEANS (OVER 10,000 RESUMES PER MONTH ARE RECEIVED BY SOME LARGE COMPANIES HR DEPARTMENTS). FILTERING BY AGE, ZIP CODE OR RACE MAKES THEM GUILTY OF DISCRIMINATION.

I HOPE TO WEIGHT SUCH CONSIDERATIONS BY TRIGGERING LAWYERS PARANOID THINKING. I HOPE TO COMPELL THEIR COOPERATION BY MAKING CLEAR THE CONSEQUENCES IF THEY DO NOT MAKE EFFORTS TO CHANGE POLICIES. LAWYERS ARE EASY IF YOU CAN MAKE THEM PARANOID.
__________________________________________________________________________


Avoid an ADA Title 1 violation with this effective solution


Dear HR Manager

Please be advised that your company may unintentionally, be in
non-compliance with the requirements of Title I of The Americans with
Disabilities Act.

IF your company requires job seekers to utilize the corporate web site to
search or browse job listings, submit resumes and/or fill out applications
forms -- you are in violation of the ADA Tiele 1 regulations. If such
employment information is provided by your company exclusively through the
Internet -- there is no doubt that your company is in violation.

The problem is that people who are visually impaired require a means of
accomidating their vision impairment to br able to read the content due to
the manner in which such information is presented. Without such an
accomidation all coporate or agency employment information and resources are
inaccessible.

Be aware that Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 became
effective July 26, 1992 and prohibits private employers from discriminating
against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application
procedures. I regret the neccesity of having to bring this to your attention
but expect good things will come from you taking action to correct this
apparent oversight. Your company’s reputation assures me that my belief is
well placed.

ION Systems, Inc. has created a simple and effective accessibility solution
called ‘Web Eyes’ an Internet Explorer plug-in that allows visually impaired
job seekers to customize the display of web site content. Web Eyes allows
anyone visiting your web site to modify the font sizes, colors and contrast
to meet their individual requirements. With their Web Eyes plug-in they can
also use the customized display to complete forms and submit applications
on-line.

Web Eyes meets the test of 'readily achievable' and 'reasonable'. At $5,000
for a one year unlimited license to distribute to your customers it is a
cost effective accomidation. Within 5 days after receiving your purchase
order, Web Eyes will be available to your customers, mitigating potential
legal liability for your HR department.

Protect your company's reputation and gain the recognition and respect your
company will deserve for being socially responsible and concerned about
access for prospective employees and customers who are visually impaired.

I invite you to experience the Web Eyes solution. Please feel free to
contact me directly or ION Systems, Inc. for a demonstration of Web Eyes or,
to order Web Eyes services.

Sincerely,

Gordon Fuller
gleefull@pacbell.net
Tel: 650.726.4572

ION Systems, Inc.
800/983-6397
636/937-1828 (fax)
http://www.ionsystems.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESSED TO BAY AREA CHAPTER PRESIDENT OF SOCIETY OF HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGERS -- SEEKING THEIR HELP IN INTRODUCING ACCESSIBILITY SOLUTION TO THEIR MEMBERSHIP OF HR MANAGERS.TO DATE THERE HAS BEEN NO REPLY TO MY MESSAGES AND PHONE CALLS. VERY DISAPPOINTING.
____________________________________________________________________________

From: Gordon Lee Fuller [gleefull@pacbell.net]
Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 10:42 PM
To: membership@nchra.org
Subject: ATTN: Marlyn Gamble HR Professionals, Need to Improve Accessibility


Dear Ms. Gamble,

I spoke this morning with Betty at your office and she suggested I address my initial correspondence to you. I have a serious problem that I want to bring to the attention of your organization, SHRM and your membership. I am hoping to find a Champion HR professional to help rectify the problem and share the news of such a solution to other HR professionals.

I am a legally blind, visually impaired person and I have discovered that virtually none of the "Best Companies to Work For" (Fortune's Top 100), in the Bay area have implemented accessible web sites for blind/visually impaired job seekers to access job listings, on-line applications, employment and career information or, offer any alternative means of doing so.

As you may be aware, this is in violation of the provisions of Title 1 of the Americans with Disability Act, which requires that job and employment information must be accessible. As there is an extremely high unemployment rate for college educated blind people (93%), this problem gives the impression that blind and visually impaired individuals need not apply for good jobs with even the best companies.

I realize that this is an oversight and I am determined to make this negative situation into a positive outcome for myself, other blind and visually impaired people and, human resources professionals -- who need to find highly motivated and qualified job applicants. I hope to offer the chance to at least one HR person to take the first step by implementing an effective solution for their company and, using the public relations resources of their company and your organization to get the word out to the rest of the HR professional community.

Please find attached a report I created with the help of my colleagues at ION Systems, Inc. (creators of Web EyesTM), which reviews local companies' web sites for employment information. The report serves to illustrate the problems encountered by anyone with a vision problem in accessing employment information. I have also attached an email I would send to HR managers in local companies, alerting them to the problem and offering an effective and economical solution (currently being installed with the Social Security Administration).

I hope that by writing to your organization with my problem that we can make a difference. I was initially quite angry about what I perceived to be total indifference to accommodating blind/visually impaired people. We face many barriers to accessibility in our daily lives which prevent us from benefiting from resources enjoyed by everyone else -- from cell phone features to architectural signs. But we live in a society of law which has decided that we must be fully included. It is yet early in this social revolution and there is much work to be done.

It is my greatest desire to create positive change on behalf of my fellow vision impaired citizens (many of which are not positive about being disabled). If we can make their lives a little better and easier we will see humanity blossom.

Thank you for your consideration. I may be contacted by reply email or, cell phone: 415.310.0550. Please feel free to call if you have any advice or questions.

Best Regards,

Gordon Lee Fuller

_____________________________________________________________________________

FAILING TO GET THE HR PROFESSIONALS ORGANIZATION TO ASSIST ME, MY TASK IS CLEAR. i NEXT CONTACTED THE FEDERAL AGENCY RESPONSIBLE FOR ENFORCING U.S. LAWS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT -- THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC). THIS LETTER CONFIRMS MY APPOINTMENT.

________________________________________________________________________


EEOC WALK-IN APPOINTMENT

Mr. Gordon Fuller
Email: gleefull@pacbell.net


Dear Ms. Fuller:

Your scheduled appointment time to have an interview with an Intake Officer concerning the possible filing of a charge of employment discrimination and retaliation, and where appropriate, related counseling, is as follows:

DAY: Wednesday DATE: January 22, 2003 TIME: 2:00 P.M.

Please note that the intake interview is normally scheduled for approximately one to two hours. As a reminder, the EEOC is tasked with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. These laws protect workers from discrimination based on their Race, Color, National Origin, Sex, Religion, Age, Disability, and Retaliation. It is necessary for you to complete the attached questionnaire to enable the EEOC to assist you in this matter. If you already have completed and submitted your questionnaire to us, please also see page two of this letter. Otherwise, answer each question to the best of your ability and bring the questionnaire with you on the date of your appointment. Information provided on this form will be used by EEOC employees to obtain information to aid the EEOC in drafting a charge. Be sure to bring the following:

The enclosed questionnaire completed by you;
This letter (or something that indicates the date of your appointment);
Any relevant information, notes, documents, letters from your employer, etc.;
Names and telephone numbers of witnesses and what information they can provide;
If you are alleging harassment or sexual harassment, attach a brief chronology of events;

If you are alleging disability discrimination; please attach documentation regarding your disability showing the diagnosis, functional limitations (with and without mitigating measures) and/or documentation on reasonable accommodation requested for the disability.

Today's communication is meant to assist you in filing a charge, but it does not relieve you of your responsibilities. You have 300 days from the date of each allegedly discriminatory occurrence to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. If you have not filed within that time, your right to file will be lost. If you previously filed with the CA Dept. of Fair Employment and Housing, contact us immediately. If you cannot keep your appointment, please call as soon as possible to cancel the appointment and arrange for rescheduling. Calls for cancellation and rescheduling should be made to (415) 356-5101.

If you return the completed questionnaire to us but do not keep the scheduled appointment or inform us of your decision not to file a charge, we will automatically file a charge based on the information provided in the questionnaire. We will also automatically advise the organization you name in your questionnaire that you have filed a charge of discrimination against it.

If you are not certain you want to file a charge at this time, you may check the box on the first page of the questionnaire stating that you are contacting us for informational purposes only and havenot decided whether to file a charge:

Check this box if this information is provided to EEOC for informational purposes or only to help you decide whether to file a charge.

If we do not hear from you 30 days after we notify the organization of your charge, we will dismiss your charge and issue you a Notice of Right to Sue. You then have 90 days from the date you receive the Notice of Right to Sue to file a lawsuit in Federal Court on the matter. Once expired, the Notice of Right to Sue cannot be restored or extended.

Our office building is located at 5th & Market Streets. The entrance is on Market Street, next door to Copeland's Sporting Goods. In addition to street one hour metered parking, public parking is available at 5th & Mission, one block south of Market. We are also located near the Powell BART Station, MUNI underground, and other MUNI transportation.

Sincerely,

Tom MaGee,

Federal Investigator,

Tel. (415) 356-5070


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