National Federation of the Blind Files Discrimination Complaint with MCAD
Alleges Discrimination by Epic Systems Corporation
Boston (July 18, 2018): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation's oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against Epic Systems Corporation. Epic creates and distributes software solutions used widely throughout the US healthcare industry. The complaint alleges that blind people are barred from employment at hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that use Epic's software because Epic has not made that software compatible with screen readers used by the blind.
Screen readers are technologies that render information on a computer screen as synthesized speech or Braille and allow blind users to use keyboard commands instead of a mouse. When technology is compatible with screen readers and meets certain other criteria, it is said to be accessible.
"Blind people are employed successfully throughout the healthcare industry at all levels, but Epic's discriminatory behavior threatens their ability to maintain or obtain such employment," said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. "Epic's failure to make its systems accessible is inexcusable, especially since the company has taken steps to make its patient-facing software accessible. Apparently, Epic thinks blind people are only fit to be patients, not healthcare workers. This is wrong, and the blind of America will not tolerate it."
The National Federation of the Blind is represented by Christine M. Netski and Grace L. McGuire of the Boston firm Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., and by Joseph B. Espo and Kevin D. Docherty of the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP.