Haley is an attorney, author, and artist who is also autistic. In this video interview, she gives her perspective on how technology plays a role in her daily life, what telework is teaching us about accessibility and accommodations, and the web accessibility considerations she hopes to see incorporated into the ADA.
PEAT. Building a future that works.
Hi, I’m Josh Christianson, co-director of the Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology or PEAT. I’m meeting with people with disabilities from across the country to reflect on the role technology has played in their careers and the potential it holds for the future of work. I’m excited today to sit down with Haley Moss to learn how technology plays a role in her daily life and what telework is teaching us about accessibility and accommodations and what the future holds for the American Disabilities Act.
Hi Josh. It’s nice to get to join you today. I am Haley Moss. I am an attorney. I am an author. I am an artist, and I am also autistic.
How does technology kind of play a role in your work life day to day?
So, I struggle a lot with executive function, so knowing what’s going on, starting and stopping tasks, things like that, and staying organized, so technology makes it possible to not only prioritize what you’re doing but also just to, from an accessibility standpoint, and I think about how much more accessible it is that we’re able to do all these things from home now.
I wonder as it’s shifted to increasingly remote and collaboration platforms, what are kind of any new opportunities or challenges that you’ve seen surface in this new kind of reality?
I think as far as opportunity goes what’s really happening with the remote workplace is, we’re realizing how much we’ve been putting these arbitrary barriers. So oftentimes disabled people will ask for reasonable accommodations and employers are obligated to give them, if they’re reasonable, and it doesn’t cause an undue hardship on the employer. Right? Like that’s basic, the like nuts and bolts of Title One of the ADA. And what happened in the before times, before we all started working from home, pretty much, is people with disabilities would request telework and be told it’s an undue hardship and now we’re seeing that’s not quite the case. I even look at the court system here. Court went remote in about a week and a half, right? We all of a sudden made this quick pivot to virtual and things happen very, very quickly, so we’re seeing that this is a lot more accessible than we thought it would be. It’s a lot more doable for employers and I hope that that means it’s a route to stay for disabled folks who do need telework.
If you think of the next 30 years, the future of the ADA, what would you like to see?
I know that the most important thing that I would like to remind people is the ADA is the floor. It’s not the ceiling. It is the bare minimum of accessibility. I’d love to see web accessibility actually be part of the ADA rather than that courts are deciding on a case-by-case basis, like, well yes, websites are covered under this part or things like that so I would really… I think if we had that spelled out more and also had the web accessibility guidelines that I’ve been seeing circulating over the years actually be codified or more readily available for people, that we would see some strides there.
Haley, thank you so much. It was a pleasure to talk to you and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and story with us.
Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me.
PEAT. Building a future that works. Peatworks.org.
PEAT is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy under contract no. 1605DC-19-F-00213/P00002. PEAT material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor.