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Are deaf and hearing-impaired workers protected by the ADA?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2022 | workplace discrimination |

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees with a range of impairments that include deafness and hearing loss. As noted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, if you have a hearing impairment, employers may not discriminate against you. Discriminating against qualified workers or job applicants based on a disability violates federal labor laws.

You may apply to work for any company if you have mild or severe hearing loss. Employers generally may not deny individuals the opportunity to take on a job that poses no direct threat to safety related to their hearing impairment. If you could perform the required work tasks safely, an employer may not discriminate against you because of your impairment.

Employers may not discriminate during an interview

Potential employers may not ask job candidates about their conditions or impairments. The law forbids asking about medical treatments, devices or hearing aids. If the interviewer or hiring manager asks unusual questions about your ability to hear, it may reflect discrimination.

During an interview, employers may ask job candidates how they might perform in hypothetical scenarios. You may, for example, answer questions about how you respond to verbal instructions while working in noisy environments. After hiring you, your employer may ask basic questions about your health or request a relevant medical exam.

Workers may request a reasonable accommodation

The ADA requires Pennsylvania employers to provide reasonable accommodations when needed. You may ask your employer for accommodation to help you complete your work tasks. Facilitative software or a headset, for example, may offer features that enhance your performance.

Federal employment laws, such as the ADA, help protect employees. Workers have the right to perform their job tasks without undue struggle or distress.