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Job discrimination based on deafness and hearing impairment

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Employment Law

Employment discrimination is illegal in Indiana and elsewhere. Unfortunately, there are employers who still discriminate against certain applicants and employees. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing often face difficulties when seeking a new job, regardless of whether they inform prospective employers of their disability.

Hearing impairment protection

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law, protects people with hearing impairment against employment discrimination in all stages: the application process and employment. This means that the law prohibits employers from treating a person who is deaf or hearing impaired any differently in the hiring process, during active employment or during termination.

According to the ADA, a disability is something that substantially limits a major life activity. This applies to moderate to severe hearing loss, even if the person uses a hearing aid. Some people with hearing impairment try to hide their disability when applying for a job.

Reasonable accommodation

Employees with hearing impairment have a right to request a reasonable accommodation. Depending on the level of hearing loss, they could request special equipment or software to help them perform the regular duties of their job. This might include TTY phone equipment, headsets and other equipment that includes visual alerts. Employers are required to provide such reasonable accommodations unless it would provide undue hardship.

Discrimination against hearing impairment

Applicants or employees who believe they have faced employment discrimination due to their hearing impairment have rights. You should document everything before you file a complaint against the employer. If a person is denied an opportunity at a job that they’re fully qualified for or faces harassment or termination because of their hearing loss, those actions violate the ADA. In that situation, filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) might be warranted.

Disability discrimination is always illegal, and employers who violate the law might be held liable.