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Questions and Answers about Deafness and Hearing Impairments in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees and state and local government employers of the same size. Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act provides the same protections for federal employees and applicants for federal employment. Most states also have their own laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of disability. Some of these state laws may apply to smaller employers and provide protections in addition to those available under the ADA.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces the employment provisions of the ADA. This document is part of a question-and-answer series addressing particular disabilities in the workplace. It explains how the ADA might apply to job applicants and employees with hearing impairments, including:

– when a hearing impairment is a disability under the ADA;
– when an employer may ask an applicant or employee about a hearing impairment;
– how employers can ensure the confidentiality of applicants’ and employees’ medical information;
– what types of reasonable accommodations an individual with a hearing disability may need;
– to what extent an employer must provide a reasonable accommodation to an individual with a hearing disability;
– how an employer should handle safety concerns and harassment issues; and,
– how an individual with a hearing impairment can file a claim against an employer under the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act.

Read more about The Americans With Disabilities Act


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