Amazon Agrees to Make Remote Customer Service Associate Roles Available to the Blind

Discrimination Lawsuit Brought by Blind Woman Resolved

Maryann Murad, a blind Michigan resident, and the National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s oldest and largest organization of blind Americans, have reached an agreement with resolving the employment discrimination lawsuit they brought in September of 2019. Without admitting liability or wrongdoing, Amazon has agreed to implement accessible technology that will allow blind people to work from home as Amazon customer service representatives. Amazon will also offer Ms. Murad a work-at-home customer service position upon her successful completion of the application process and pay an undisclosed amount of money.

In 2017, Ms. Murad tried to apply for a virtual customer service (VCS) position with Amazon, but the proprietary Amazon technology required to perform the duties of the VCS role was inaccessible with Voiceover, the Apple text-to-speech screen-reading software that Ms. Murad uses to complete tasks on her computer. Amazon has created proprietary technology that is now accessible.

“We are pleased to reach this agreement with Amazon and hope that it is an important step in making the company a leader in twenty-first-century employment for blind people,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “Accessible technology is a key to equal employment of the blind, and this is even more true with remote employment on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Blind people can and must be a part of existing and new work environments in order to live the lives we want, and the National Federation of the Blind will continue to ensure that blind Americans are connected and protected.”