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Practices Update: EEOC Clarifies ADA Requirements For Employers Hiring Individuals With Hearing Disabilities

U.S. EEOC logo. Text reads Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities ActAs part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that we are equipping our readers with the best and most up to date strategies for workforce inclusion, we are pleased to share on January 24, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released an updated resource explaining ADA requirements for individuals with hearing disabilities in the workplace. Called “Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” it details how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees who are deaf or hard of hearing or have other hearing conditions.

The EEOC publication outlines how certain pre- and post-job offer disability-related questions can violate the ADA, describes easy-to-access technologies that can make providing a reasonable accommodation for a hearing disability free or low-cost, addresses employer concerns about safety, and shares realistic scenarios of potential discrimination. The agency points out that it both provides updated information about discrimination against job applicants and provides new or updated examples that reflect available technologies.

A press release by the EEOC quotes its chair, Charlotte A Burrows, reminding us that “employers have a legal responsibility to create fair workplaces for all employees and job applicants who need reasonable accommodations,” and predicting that “the practical questions and answers and realistic scenarios in this updated document will help educate employers on those responsibilities and employees about their rights.”

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have other hearing conditions can perform successfully on the job and should not be denied opportunities because of stereotypical assumptions about their hearing. The document clarifies that discrimination may occur when employers act on unfounded assumptions that workers with hearing conditions will cause safety hazards, increase employment costs, or have difficulty communicating. The document also discusses harassment and retaliation. Read the full document at the EEOC’s website.

Meet the Author

Wally Tablit

Wally Tablit (He/Him/His) is the Director of State Policy for RespectAbility.

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