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RE: single browser intranets

From: Waddell, Cynthia <cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 10:21:14 -0700
Message-ID: <3EC0FC2EAE6AD1118D5100AA00DCD8830345AA52@sj-exchange.ci.sj.ca.us>
To: "'Claude Sweet'" <sweetent@home.com>, Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Cc: W3c-wai-ig@w3.org
On the other hand, if a company does not address accessibility in their
intranet environment, they cannot deny employment to a person with a
disability simply because the company did not think ahead and design for
accessibility.  If a company rejects an employee applicant purely because
the person had a disability and did not explore accommodation issues,
including the redesign of their intranet, then the company can be subject to
a disability discrimination lawsuit.  The cost of the lawsuit and punitive
damages would outweigh the cost in addressing intranet accessibility.  Good
business practices address the problems head-on.  As I have mentioned
before, civil rights violations do not require intentional discrimination,
just the fact that you did it.  This is because of the societal value our
laws attach to the removal of myths, stereotyping and historical unfair
practices directed towards people with disabilities.

Cynthia D. Waddell

Cynthia D. Waddell   
ADA Coordinator
City Manager Department
City of San Jose, CA USA
801 North First Street, Room 460
San Jose, CA  95110-1704
(408)971-0134 TTY
(408)277-3885 FAX

-----Original Message-----
From: Claude Sweet [mailto:sweetent@home.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 1999 9:59 AM
To: Al Gilman
Cc: W3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: single browser intranets


Do your comments apply if the following conditions exist:

1. A small, moderately capitalized company what to establish an Intranet
2. None of the existing employee's have any disabilities

Is it realistic to expect small companies to expend a large percentage
its resources on a solution for which there isn't an existing problem?

I believe most companies will allocate their resources to expand their
opportunities, maximizing market potential for existing products, and
funding new 
product research.

These companies do not have "deep pockets" to do the planning that
takes place in Fortune 500 companies.

In the business world decisions are frequently based on short term
Remaining in business takes immediate precedent over lofty goals of 5
10 year plans.

Claude Sweet
Educational Technologist

Al Gilman wrote:
> One magnitude that I don't see anyone addressing in business-credible
> is the curb cut effect for universal design of internal web
>  Doing the up-front homework to design the intranet practices for any
> browser, or for WAI compliance, will result in intranet content which is
> _more_ effective communication with _all_ employees, totalled across the
> employee population without regard for disability.  It is not just that
> won't lose effectiveness, you will gain.  Making the words tell the story
> independent of the pictures, and the pictures tell the story independent
> the words, will reduce employee time spent and error rate in extracting
> information from the intranet.  But I don't know how much.  I would really
> love to see Pugh or Arthur Andersen Consulting or somebody with
> among the readers of the Wall Street Journal attempt to measure the
> cost-benefit curve for this effect.
> This gain in communication effectiveness is the major economic incentive
> for the employer, not the threat of lawsuits.  Employers can play the law
> game very effectively against employees because of the increasing returns
> to scale in lawyer-buying.
> Businesses implementing intranets need to realize that the Web is an
> industry, and Best Commercial Practice (a.k.a. what the market will bear)
> is not really very good yet.  If they want to play smart and get ahead of
> the curve they will use the WCAG in an internal communications quality
> program and have a happier, better informed and better bonded workforce.
> And business (to read the WSJ) generally understands that that is an
> enterprise asset worth investing in.
> Al
Received on Tuesday, 26 October 1999 13:18:12 UTC

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