The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) offers protections to individuals who have medical problems and/or disabilities. If you have hearing loss, you can ask your employer to provide reasonable accommodations so you can properly do your job duties. If they decline your request, or don’t make an effort to provide some kind of accommodations, then you can file a complaint for their ADA violation.
However, what is considered reasonable can be subjective and there are some protections for the employer. Of course, not all employers can provide the same accommodations. There are restrictions and limitations that come into play. The size of the company, time constraints, and the financial status of the business are taken into consideration when determining what is considered as reasonable.
How Hearing Loss Could Be Difficult In The Workplace
There are many ways that hearing loss can make your job difficult. You could face a variety of challenges because of your condition. It can limit your ability to effectively communicate over the phone or in meetings with coworkers, supervisors and clients. If the material isn’t made in a visual format, and you are only getting access to it in audio form, then you may not be able to access the details that you need.
The lack of accessing the details that you need could become a risk or a safety hazard. This could affect you and coworkers or customers in other ways as well. So, if you feel that you need special accommodations in order to effectively and safely function while on the job, you should not hesitate to ask for the help that you need.
Examples of Reasonable Accommodations
If you have hearing loss, there are many kinds of reasonable accommodations that you could request to allow you to do your job better. Examples of reasonable accommodations for workers who suffer from hearing loss include transcribers, visual alarms or notifications, assisted listening devices, or closed captioning. You may ask for materials to be in written form or visual format so you will have access to the content that has been provided to others verbally or by audio.
Once again, what is reasonable is subjective and your employer and their size plays a major role in the overall situation. Companies can be limited by the number of employees that they have, their financial situation, and the time that it takes to get the accommodations that you are requesting to help you do your job with the hearing loss.
A larger company with more money, more workers, and more time will be able to offer different accommodations than a small company that is locally owned, has minimal sales, and has fewer workers and less time available to spend on providing accommodations. You may have to get creative in such situations helping your employer come up with effective accommodations that are affordable and less time consuming.
However, even a small company with minimal finances can often come up with effective and affordable solutions. Any employer who has more than 15 employees is required to abide by the ADA. This means that the employer must be willing to try to accommodate the needs of the workers who have disabilities of any kind. Failing to come up with a solution could be considered an ADA violation, and that can lead to harsh penalties and fines. It can also open doors for lawsuits.
Speak With An Attorney
If your employer has denied your request for accommodations for hearing loss, then they could be in violation of the ADA. As previously mentioned, what is reasonable could be very subjective from one employer to the next. However, your employer cannot just outright deny your request. Creativity must come into play, and an affordable and effective solution must be considered.
If you don’t think your employer made a reasonable effort, then you have legal help and resources available and the proper agencies should be notified, and a complaint should be filed. If the matter isn’t resolved after you have filed a complaint with the proper entities, then you can file a lawsuit for the ADA violation and recover compensation for your damages.
Some employment law attorneys take cases involving ADA violations on the contingency basis but be sure to talk with your lawyer about his or her payment when you retain them to represent you. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share the details about your ADA accommodation request denial because of hearing loss.