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What does the EEOC say about hearing-impaired workers’ rights?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2024 | Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces laws that provide everyone with disabilities the right to fair treatment in the workplace. This includes those who are hearing impaired. The goal is to ensure all workers have equal opportunities.

Some of the things hearing-impaired workers should know are found here.

Anti-Discrimination Protections

The primary law the EEOC enforces regarding hearing-impaired workers is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA states an employer that has 15 or more employees cannot discriminate against a qualified person just because of a disability. This applies to:

  • Job application procedures
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Compensation
  • Job training

This includes protections against discrimination for hearing-impaired workers.

Reasonable Accommodations

Employers are required to give reasonable accommodations to all workers who are disabled unless the accommodations would cause an undue hardship. For hearing-impaired workers, reasonable accommodations might include providing assistive listening devices, offering sign language interpreters, using captioning for meetings and training sessions, and ensuring effective communication in the workplace. The EEOC emphasizes that accommodations should be tailored to the specific needs of the employee.

Interactive Process

The EEOC encourages an interactive process between the employer and the employee to determine appropriate accommodations. This process involves open communication, where the employee discusses their specific needs and the employer explores various accommodation options. The goal is to find effective solutions that enable the hearing-impaired employee to perform their job duties efficiently.


Employers must keep all medical information, including details about an employee’s hearing impairment, confidential. This information should only be shared with individuals who need to know it to provide accommodation or for safety reasons. The EEOC highlights the importance of maintaining privacy to protect the employee’s rights.

Retaliation Prohibition

The EEOC strictly prohibits retaliation against employees who request accommodations or assert their rights under the ADA. Hearing-impaired workers are protected from adverse actions, such as demotion, harassment or unfair treatment, that result from seeking accommodations or filing discrimination complaints.

The EEOC plays a critical role in protecting the rights of hearing-impaired workers. Knowing your rights is the first step to protecting them.