question: One of my employees recently told me that she has a hearing impairment that is affecting her ability to do her job. what should i do?
answer: About 15% of American adults report some form of hearing loss, according to the National Institute on Hearing Loss and Other Communication Disorders. People with various hearing conditions (such as hearing loss, hearing loss, tinnitus, and noise sensitivity) may be “disabled” as defined by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Fair Employment and Housing. There is a nature. activity. ADA and FEHA prohibit discrimination against eligible applicants and employees.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently updated its guidance on hearing impairments in the workplace, explaining:
· When employers ask applicants or employees about hearing status and how to handle voluntary disclosures.
· The types of reasonable accommodations required by applicants or employees who are deaf or hard of hearing.
· How should employers address safety concerns regarding deaf applicants and employees?
· How employers ensure that employees are not harassed because of hearing impairment or other disabilities.
Key points from the EEOC guidance include:
Employers may not inquire about an applicant’s medical condition or require an applicant to undergo a medical examination before making a conditional job offer. However, employers may question an applicant’s ability to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation, such as whether the applicant can respond quickly to instructions in a noisy, fast-paced work environment. can. Good communication skills, or whether the applicant can meet the legally mandated safety standards required to perform the job.
If an applicant discloses the terms of the hearing after receiving a conditional job offer, the employer may ask the applicant additional questions. For example, specific hearing limitations experienced by individuals and reasonable accommodations necessary for applicants to perform their jobs.
Employers may ask an employee about their hearing impairment if they reasonably believe that hearing impairment would prevent them from performing the essential functions of their job safely. In addition, an employer may ask an employee about their hearing to the extent that the information is necessary to support the employee’s request for reasonable accommodation necessary for hearing impairment.
Employers must provide reasonable accommodation so that applicants and employees with disabilities can enjoy equal employment opportunities. It is important to discuss with your employees the accommodations they need to perform their jobs.
Accommodations vary according to the needs of individuals with disabilities. Not all Applicants or Deaf Employees require accommodation or require the same accommodation. The EEOC guidance describes reasonable accommodations required by deaf employees, such as sign language interpreters, assistive technology (such as hearing aid compatible headsets, video remote interpretation services, assistive software), or work area adjustments. I’m here.
For more information on how hearing impairments are addressed in the workplace, please visit https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/hearing-disabilities-workplace-and-americans-disabilities-act. Employer reasonable accommodation resources are also available at https://calcivilrights.ca.gov/accommodation/.
Sara Boyns is an attorney at Fenton & Keller in Monterey. This column is intended to answer general questions and should not be construed as legal advice. For inquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.