The deaf or hearing impaired are protected from workplace discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act is a set of guidelines and laws that employers have to follow. If you are covered, you deserve fair treatment despite your impairment. Employers are responsible for creating reasonable accommodations that ensure you can perform your professional duties.
No employer can take action against you based on your impairment. They cannot refuse to hire you due to a disability, if there is a history of a disability, or if they perceive you as having a disability. For ADA protection, you need the qualifications to perform the job’s essential functions.
Under employment laws, an employer has to provide reasonable accommodation — giving you the resources needed to function on the job — as long as said accommodations do not create a hardship.
Reasonable accommodations would be:
- Installing TTY communication devices
- Offering a sign language interpreter as needed
- Providing visual or sensory equipment
- Using a light or sensor alert that allows you to see ringing phones, etc.
Know Your Rights
There is likely discrimination under the following circumstances:
- An employer rejects your application feeling you didn’t qualify based on your hearing impairment.
- You’re subjected to a hostile work environment because of an impairment.
- They deny you a raise, promotion, bonus, or other benefits due to your hearing impairment.
- You’re let go because of an impairment.
- The company denies reasonable accommodation.
Follow company procedure for filing an internal complaint or go to HR to make a formal complaint. If you’re not getting satisfaction, file a charge with the EEOC or a similar agency. Or talk to an attorney experienced in employment law.