Blind Employee Not Given Tools To Help People With
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 21, 2005
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA--A woman who was hired by a state agency to improve access for people with disabilities, is claiming that the agency discriminated against her by failing to make her job accessible.
Beth Johnston, who is blind, worked for the State of Victoria's Department of Human Services for 18 months until this past June when her contract was not renewed.
Johnston, 29, told The Age news service that she uses screen-reading software that is not compatible with the email software used in the state office. She said that she requested the department install Microsoft Outlook Express, which is compatible with her screen-reader.
She claimed that the entire time she worked for the state her supervisors refused to have it installed.
"I was quite staggered at the level of ignorance and misunderstanding and stereotypical ideas about people with disabilities," she said.
"All the way through my disability was not what was disabling me," she explained. "It was people's behavior that became the disability."
To make matters worse for Johnston, she was informed last Friday that a complaint she filed on June 30 would be investigated by her former manager -- who is one of the staff listed in her complaint.
"Access program denies program access" (The Age)