There are numerous laws that protect those who have a hearing impairment, and the most important statute that safeguards hearing-impaired people is the ADA. Enacted in 1990, this law stipulates that companies and government entities should make appropriate accommodations for those with disabilities. They are also required to refrain from discriminating against them. People who have hearing aids or cochlear implants to address their disability are also protected under the ADA. But with changing times, EEOC releases updated guidelines to accommodate different changes happening in society owing to technological developments. The federal agency released the latest updated ADA on Jan. 24, 2023, outlining how it affects prospective candidates and workers with hearing impairments.

ADA and people with disability

The ADA forbids qualified people who have disabilities from being subjected to discrimination in recruitment processes, hiring, firing, promotion, remuneration, work-related guidance, and other privileges, terms, and conditions of employment. This law should be followed by employment agencies, local and state governments, labor unions, and private companies having more than 15 workers. Companies are also required to make workplaces disable-friendly and enhance accessibility.

They should make changes that would remove anything that causes undue hardships to a qualified staff member or applicant with a known disability. Employers are also requested to entertain reasonable requests from people suffering from hearing disabilities that are not too expensive or difficult to fulfill. The provision of a translator who knows sign language for conventions or similar gatherings is one example of such accommodation. Additionally, it can also entail offering assistive listening tools like computer software, emergency alarm systems with strobe lights, or captioned phones.

Guidelines included in the updated ADA

There are several important guidance discussed in the updated ADA. Some key highlights include:

  • It stipulates the guidelines for how a prospective candidate should handle voluntary disclosures when a prospective employer inquires about their hearing condition or disability.
  • It stipulates what sorts of accommodations candidates or workers with hearing impairments may require from their employers.
  • The updated act describes how a company or employer must handle worries regarding the safety of candidates and personnel with hearing impairments.
  • It also stipulates how a company or employer can prevent harassment of staff members who have hearing impairments or other similar disabilities.

The steps employers should take

Employers who are covered under the act should review this revised guidance. Hiring managers and recruiters in your company should undergo comprehensive training organization’s accommodation procedures and policies. This includes understanding when an employee’s or applicant’s statements or conduct may necessitate engaging in interaction and maintaining confidentiality. Training should also be given about reasonable accommodation policies in accordance with state and federal laws. All these are necessary to minimize any discrimination claims that might occur in the future.

Multi state enterprises should be aware that many states have regulations against disability-based employment discrimination. In some states, these may also apply to businesses with fewer than 15 workers. Employers must also be aware of any applicable local, state, and federal regulations to guarantee compliance since these laws might offer extra safeguards beyond those provided by the ADA. Also, it is advisable that employers seek legal advice when they feel that making accommodations would be too difficult.