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January 24, 2023
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The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act technical assistance document. This resource covers various issues related to employees and job applicants with hearing disabilities and addresses them in a question-and-answer format. Topics covered include: 1) when an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about a hearing condition and how it should treat voluntary disclosures; 2) what types of reasonable accommodations applicants or employees with hearing disabilities may need; 3) how an employer should handle safety concerns about applicants and employees with hearing disabilities; and 4) how an employer can ensure that no employee is harassed because of a hearing disability or any other disability.
The EEOC reinforces that employers should not ask applicants about their medical conditions. However, employers are permitted to ask questions regarding an applicant’s ability to perform the essential functions of the position, with or without a reasonable accommodation. More specifically, the EEOC provides examples of reasonable accommodations for those with hearing disabilities, including: a sign language interpreter; assistive technology like hearing-aid compatible headsets, video remote interpreting services, hearing protection equipment, assistive software or applications and accessible emergency notification systems; appropriate written memos and notes; work area adjustments; time off; altering non-essential job functions; and reassignment to a vacant position. Employers should review the additional guidance offered for reasonable accommodations and evaluate the options best suited for their workplace and job positions.
- Review the EEOC’s technical assistance document here.
- Have policies and procedures updated regarding reasonable accommodations under the ADA.
- Have appropriate personnel trained on ADA requirements.
- Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.
Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2023 ManagEase