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Accessibility and the Internet: SHL’s Commitment to Fairness

The SHL Disability Task Force is making proactive accessibility changes ahead of recent legal action in the United States.

The Americans with Disability Act was passed in 1990 in an effort to mitigate discrimination faced by individuals with mental or physical disabilities. The law covers several domains including employment decisions (Title I), access to public transportation (Title II), public accommodations (Title III), and telecommunications (Title IV). In this article, we’ll focus on Title I and III.

  • Title I specifies that an employer cannot discriminate against an employee or job candidate with disabilities if a reasonable accommodation is available. Reasonable accommodations include specialized equipment, schedule flexibility, or similar changes that allow the individual to complete their job duties. Reasonable accommodations also apply to employment testing via extended timers or alternative content, and SHL has always been ahead of the curve in an effort to provide all candidates with the tools they need to demonstrate their full potential.
  • Title III states that all individuals must be provided access to publicly available goods and services. These accommodations typically include wheelchair ramps or elevators to bypass stairs or providing braille or large-print menus at a restaurant. When the ADA was passed in 1990, nearly all commerce and public services involved traveling to physical locations. As the world becomes increasingly digital, more and more business and access to public services occur online. While many organizations like SHL have been proactive in making their websites accessible to customers that may require screen readers, high-contrast displays, or keyboard-only navigation, other organizations have been much less accommodating.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, more and more business and access to public services occur online

In the past few years, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against organizations whose websites or web-based services were not fully accessible to individuals with perceptual, physical, or cognitive disabilities. Several of these cases have worked their way up in the US federal court system. The primary argument has been whether or not company websites are considered public accommodations. One particular case, Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, was recently submitted to the US Supreme Court for review following a decision made in the 9th Circuit that any web service provided by a company, even if that company has a brick and mortar location, must be fully accessible. The Supreme Court chose not to review the case, leaving the decision of the 9th Circuit in place.

Our Commitment to Fairness and Inclusion

While it is currently unclear what how “fully accessible” for web-based services will be defined within the US, we know that SHL will continue to stay ahead of the curve through our continuing commitment to fairness and open-access. We have a multi-disciplinary team dedicated to improving the accessibility of our client-facing services as well as our test content. We also have a team of scientists focused on advancing research in accessibility and testing, including leading-edge research in testing for neurodiverse candidates.

As regulations across the global market are introduced, SHL will fully comply, however, our accessibility efforts are not done out of a fear of litigation but our commitment to fairness and inclusion.

If you have any questions about the SHL Disability Task Force please get in touch.

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Darrin Grelle

Darrin Grelle is a Principal Research Scientist for team Digital at SHL with more than 10 years of experience in the talent assessment industry. In this role, he is responsible for the growth and development of one of the largest cognitive ability testing programs in the field of talent assessment. His primary areas of expertise include innovating traditional cognitive assessment formats, design, and development of assessments for mobile delivery, and application of item response theory for computer adaptive testing. Darrin holds a Ph.D. in Applied Psychology from the University of Georgia, with a focus on psychometrics.

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