Welcome to the next article in this series of the VI Talk blog. Now as you will be aware, we've been looking at travel, mobility and transport and how aspects of these affect our lives. This week, Amanda Nelson has written about how the lack of a driving license has affected her search for employment. Many thanks Amanda for a great article :-)
Sorry, we don’t take that…
By Amanda Nelson
714 job applications and continuing that’s the number of applications that I’ve applied for since I’ve landed on Unemployment Island in 2013. The applications are usually very simple and straight forward, however on most job applications I get a similar question to this, “Do you have a driver’s license, or do you have the ability to obtain one?” Due to my disability, I’m required to say no.
The circle of applications goes a little something like this: Apply for a job and within seconds of working tirelessly to fill out the application get a job rejection, hear nothing back, job gets filled by someone else, and they don’t send out a rejection letter…then there are a rare few occasions where I’m asked to come in for a job interview, however along with the job interview offer I hear something along the lines of, “Please bring in your driver’s license and social security card,” After explaining that I don’t have a driver’s license, due to a disability, and that I have a state issued identification card I usually hear, “We don’t take that.” Even with jobs, that don’t mention anything about having the requirement to drive on the job description.
This makes me sad. I recently learned, according to Florida’s www.dmv.org website, “Florida ID cards can be also be very helpful during emergencies-such as automobile accidents or cases or missing persons- and qualify as a federal form of identification with the Real ID ACT.” I have even explained this law to a few employers and when they have stated that they do not take my state issued Identification card, they reply with something like, “Its company policy that we don’t take ID cards.” Even with this being the law, I can’t challenge this issue because driving may be an essential requirement for the job, or a company may have a policy for all their employees to follow.
Furthermore, I’m not the only person who has come across this issue when job hunting, in “Attention, Employers-This is Employment Discrimination: Do you have a driver’s License?” Joe Strechay writes, “Recently, I have been hearing from state Vocational rehabilitation counselors, job seekers, and noticed myself- employers are using job descriptions and online application systems with a question similar to this: “Do you have a valid state driver’s license?” Strechay goes on to explain that this question can be asked even if there is no connection to driving for the job, and sometimes, there is no way to add additional information, like medical reasons, or just not knowing how to drive, and thus, a person must once again say, “no” to this question.
Then there are times when I just turn in my resume and cover letter, or they don’t ask that type of question on the application, so therefore, when I get an automatic email interview offer, it also states to bring in my driver’s license, so I have tried calling and asking if the driver’s license is used for a background check, and then I once again explain my situation, again I usually hear, “No,” or “Yes, we can take that, however you mentioned you have a disability. Do you have reliable transportation to get to work? Click here to read my article on the The perils of community and public transit
I have also tried, going into interviews and when they ask I again explain. So far, I haven’t received any offers… So, until I find someone that will see me as a person, not just a person who has a disability and a lack of a driver’s license because of that very reason, I continue to reside on unemployment island.