Many California residents have some level of hearing loss. Whether someone has always had a hearing impairment or the issue is new, they have rights regarding work. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers certain protections to individuals with hearing impairment with respect to their jobs.
Hearing loss under the ADA
Under the ADA, a person is considered to have a hearing disability when they can prove that they are substantially limited in terms of a major life activity. In this case, the person’s hearing would be that activity; someone who uses hearing aids or a cochlear implant may not necessarily be considered disabled because their hearing is corrected by such devices. However, workers who cannot benefit from hearing devices fall under the category of hearing disabled under the law.
Protections for hearing-impaired individuals
Under the ADA, employees and applicants with disabilities have certain protections. Employers cannot ask workers whether they have a hearing impairment unless it’s to provide reasonable accommodations to improve their job functions. For example, a receptionist begins to have trouble understanding certain people over the phone and the supervisor thinks they might have a hearing problem. In that situation, they might want to provide the receptionist with a special phone that transcribes speech.
Employers are prohibited from terminating employees based on hearing disability status. They also cannot refuse to hire a qualified jobseeker based on their belief or knowledge that the person has a hearing impairment. It’s also against the law for an employer to hold back certain projects or fail to promote workers based on a hearing disability.
An employer cannot pay a hearing-impaired worker less money than an employee who has full hearing. This is a blatant form of discrimination and violates the law under the ADA.
All workers deserve to be treated fairly and equally. If you are hearing impaired and your employer is violating your rights under the ADA, taking action is crucial.