Discrimination against the Deaf

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 What Is Discrimination Against the Deaf, and How Does the Law Protect Them?

There is discrimination against the deaf present in many countries. In the United States, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) addresses this discrimination and requires governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations to provide access to people who are deaf, deafblind, and hard of hearing. The access must meet the needs of the impaired to communicate. The law mandates that reasonable accommodations be made in the workplace and other settings as necessary.

If the ADA covers you, an employer cannot discriminate against you based on your hearing impairment. The ADA applies to the following settings:

  • Private employers that consist of at least 15 employees;
  • Employment agencies;
  • Labor organizations;
  • Labor-management committees, and;
  • State and local governments.

The purpose of the ADA is to create an environment that allows each individual with a hearing disability to have access to communication to express themselves as needed. The regulations are meant to make it easier for the deaf to communicate and provide information to others on how to accommodate this situation.

Furthermore, the ADA protects deaf and hearing-impaired employees through job applications. Meaning an employer may not refuse to hire the hearing impaired entirely. They cannot use your disability against you and refuse you a job opportunity, which is considered discrimination against deaf individuals.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the ADA defines a disability “as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” Hearing loss is considered a significant deterrence to your enjoyment of life. Therefore, it qualifies to meet the definition under the ADA.

The ADA defines “disability” broadly to encompass a bigger range of people. The first element for the individuals to meet through the ADA is demonstrating that the hearing impairment significantly impacts their life activities. The impairment limits their communication ability and requires some hearing aid to comprehend fully.

Besides this, if some individuals have had a history of impairment, will also be covered under the ADA. Individuals with a prior hearing impairment can show a record of this. For instance, some applicants for employment may record their disability and show how the individual’s hearing has been corrected surgically.

Lastly, an individual is covered under the ADA definition of disability if an employer takes a prohibited action due to the person’s hearing condition. For instance, they refuse to hire them for the position solely because of their hearing disability.

What Is Considered Reasonable Accommodations for the Hearing Impaired?

As the ADA mandates, all public places must have reasonable accommodations for the hearing impaired. A reasonable accommodation is a modification to the job duties or workplace that allows the employee to complete the job despite a disability. For instance, these accommodations for employees with hearing loss may include the following:

  • Giving access to proper telephone equipment for the hearing impaired;
  • Providing access to software designed for hearing loss and other special communication devices and;
  • Any equipment with visual or sensory alerts, such as a telephone that vibrates or lights up with a siren.

The local employment agencies must have reasonable accommodations for the hearing impaired, giving them the equal opportunity to contribute to society by their means. You can research more on LegalMatch.com to learn about the regulations protecting the health impaired and how to protect yourself from discrimination.

However, remember, an employer is only obligated to accommodate what is reasonable if it does not create an undue hardship for the employer. These could include significant difficulty or expense. To determine whether or not an accommodation causes undue hardship, you can examine the factors below:

  • The size and financial strength of the employer;
  • Price of the accommodation;
  • Impact the accommodation would have on conducting business and;
  • Does the accommodation fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business?

For instance, if a library clerk with some hearing disability requests that a loud bell with vibration and a speaker be added to the telephone, although it may make it easier to hear and answer calls, it would disrupt the quiet atmosphere of the library. Therefore, this would be considered an example of undue hardship on the employer to accommodate the hearing-impaired individual.

However, if you think you have been discriminated against or harassed due to your hearing loss, make sure to record the following information:

  • The date the incident occurred;
  • At the time of the incident;
  • Where it happened;
  • Who else was present, and
  • What did everyone say and do?

If you want to file a legal claim against your employer, this information could be useful for proving your case. The main goal of the ADA is to build a welcoming community for the hearing impaired. It was formed to support and provide them access to basic services without facing stigma and violence.

Unfortunately, in many situations, students who suffer heart loss are uprooted from their families and communities because their local school does not offer instruction in sign language. Sign language is a necessary basic right for the dead community.

What is Audism?

Audism is considered a negative attitude toward deaf or hearing-impaired individuals. It is known to be a form of discrimination, prejudice, or a general lack of willingness to accommodate those who cannot hear. Those who hold these prejudices are referred to as audits. Audism can be seen in many different forms across the states. It can impact your workplace, education, and living circumstances. It also can be the case that both hearing and deaf people can have audit attitudes. Below are some descriptions of how audism can be witnessed:

  • When you know how to sign language but fail to utilize sign language as needed;
  • Not valuing a deaf or hard-of-hearing person for a weakness in verbal language;
  • Forcing and insisting that deaf and hard-of-hearing people conform to the hearing community;
  • Do not want to provide reasonable accommodations to someone’s auditory needs and;
  • Lowering expectations concerning education or work abilities due to the individual’s hearing impairment.

Besides noticing the warning signs of audism and how it can impact day-to-day activities, there are also some examples of audism discrimination below:

  • Not allowing the space for a deaf person to properly communicate they can;
  • Telling a deaf person to read your lips or write what is being dictated;
  • Not providing an interpreter when one is required;
  • Doing phone calls for the hearing impaired when they cannot;
  • Informing a deaf person to “tone down” their facial expressions because they are making others feel uncomfortable and;
  • Not devoting enough time to education subjects for the dead child.

As seen above, there are many descriptions regarding what audism may look like. It is important to know and educate yourself about these scenarios. Discrimination against a deaf person can happen in front of you, and you need to be able to realize it to offer any sort of assistance if possible.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

Discrimination against the deaf is present in our society. Some laws are meant to protect the hearing-impaired community and provide them the same opportunity as everyone else to have access to basic communication to live their lives. Public places are obligated by law to provide reasonable accommodations for the hearing disability.

If you have witnessed or experienced discrimination due to your hearing impairment, contact a local discrimination lawyer to assist you with your case.

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