[Nfbnet-members-list] Lawyers Seeking Help with Marriott Lawsuit
JFreeh at nfb.org
Thu Feb 21 01:48:53 UTC 2013
The attorneys listed below are interested in
talking with any current or former blind or print
disabled employees or applicants from the
Marriott hotel chain. The attorneys represent a
group of blind or print disabled persons who were
denied advancement or other employment
opportunities because of Marriotts use of
inaccessible computer software and its failure to
reasonably accommodate persons using JAWS and
other screen readers. Please liberally share
this notice and the below press release with your
networks so we can get the message out to those
blind persons who might benefit from participating in this class action.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jinny Kim, 415-864-8848,
<mailto:jkim at las-elc.org>jkim at las-elc.org, www.las-elc.org
Timothy Elder, 410-415-3493,
<mailto:telder at trelegal.com>telder at trelegal.com, www.trelegal.com
LAWSUIT CLAIMS MARRIOTT DISCRIMINATES AGAINST BLIND EMPLOYEES
CLASS ACTION SEEKS EQUAL ACCESS TO PROMOTIONS, COMPUTER SOFTWARE
(SAN DIEGO, CA, February 6, 2013) Today, the
Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center
(LAS-ELC) and TRE Legal filed a class action
lawsuit in federal court against Marriott,
alleging that the hotel giant discriminates
against blind and disabled employees by requiring
its managers to use inaccessible computer
software and rejecting accessible alternatives.
Ali Faraj is a blind Marriott employee who has
been excluded from advancement to a management
position with Marriott based on the hotel chains
requirement that managers use a Sales Force
Automation (SFA) software program by the Oracle
Corporation called Siebel CRM (Customer Relation
Management). Despite requests, Marriott has
refused to configure or modify its SFA software
so that disabled persons such as Mr. Faraj who
use screen-reading software can serve as managers.
Mr. Faraj has worked for the Marriot hotel chain
since 2005, and is currently an Event Billing
Specialist at the San Diego Marriott
Marquis. Like other blind employees of Marriott,
Mr. Faraj uses computers by relying on JAWS
screen reader software, a program that translates
computer text into audible speech or refreshable
Braille data. JAWS enables blind people and
others with reading and print disabilities to
access documents and digital information on
computers and thus become productive and independent workers.
I have a B.A. in Hospitality Business, and more
than ten years of experience in the industry,
including my nearly eight successful years with
Marriott. I want to advance, said Mr.
Faraj. But Marriott managers keep telling me
that I cannot be promoted into a position
requiring use of Siebel CRM. Thats not fair.
He added that a Marriott HR manager has
acknowledged that he is more qualified than other
candidates placed by Marriott into management.
The lawsuit alleges that there are
nondiscriminatory alternatives to Marriotts
current software system, including replacing
Siebel CRM with alternative, JAWS-accessible SFA
software, updating and upgrading the existing
Seibel CRM software to make it JAWS-accessible
system-wide, and adding individualized
modifications or scripts to the existing Seibel
CRM software to make it JAWS-accessible to particular individuals.
Marriott contends that it would cost more than
$1,000,000 to fix the problems, said Timothy
Elder, a principle of TRE Legal and an attorney
for Mr. Faraj. That is just not the case. One
solution would cost less than $50,000 and would
open up competitive employment opportunities for
many blind and disabled Marriott workers.
Mr. Elder further disputed that the fix would
impose an undue hardship on the
company. According to reports, Marriott
International had revenues of $12.3 billion for
2011, and has assets worth $5.9 billion; Host
Marriott has assets totaling $11.3 billion.
In recent months, Marriott has expanded the
Seibel CRM software configuration, integrating
additional computer programs into the
inaccessible platform. This expansion further
threatens the employment opportunities of Mr.
Faraj and other blind and disabled employees by
reaching additional jobs at Marriott.
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits
employers from using selection criteria and
methods of administration that exclude persons
with disabilities, said Jinny Kim, senior staff
attorney with LAS-ELC and counsel for Mr.
Faraj. This case seeks to dismantle unnecessary
barriers created by an employers technology.
The class action lawsuit requests a determination
from the court that Marriott is in violation of
the Americans with Disabilities Act, and a court
order requiring Marriott to make the required
changes to its software system and related
policies on behalf of a class of affected
workers. The case also seeks damages and other relief for Mr. Faraj.
Lawyers on the case are interested in speaking
with any Marriott employee who uses
screen-reading software. They may also be
contacted to set up telephone interviews with Mr. Faraj.
About the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law
Center | <http://www.las-elc.org>www.las-elc.org
Founded in 1916, the Legal Aid Society-Employment
Law Center protects the rights and economic
self-sufficiency of working poor people and
marginalized communities by providing free legal
services, education, and advocacy. Using the law
as a tool, we help low-wage workers create the
best possible future for themselves and their families.
About the TRE Legal Practice | <http://www.trelegal.com>www.trelegal.com
Founded by attorney Timothy Elder, TRE Legal is a
civil rights law firm fighting discrimination
against disabled people and specializing in the
rights of the blind to access employment,
education, government programs, public
accommodations, accessible technology and all other aspects of society.
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