His name is Larry. He is an experienced electrician, and he suffers from a hearing disability. Given his experience, Larry is in charge of a team of electricians, and his responsibility is to take the list of daily work sites, travel to the sites with his team, and direct the day’s work at each site. The list of daily work is given to Larry by the company owner in the morning meeting. That list is typically given orally.
Knowing that he does not want to miss important details about the worklist, discreetly passed a note to the company owner. In the note, Larry asked the owner to put the work list and any special instructions in writing because Larry knew he was having difficulty hearing the oral report. That request was reasonable and appropriate. Larry successfully requested a reasonable accommodation that the owner must honor under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In this article, we will answer some important questions about how employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with hearing disabilities. If you have additional questions about dealing with hearing loss in the workplace, please contact the Law Offices of RITE law today for your Free Case Evaluation. There are no upfront fees, and we will only be compensated once a recovery is made on your behalf if litigation is necessary.
Our hearing loss lawyers in Jacksonville have your best interests at heart, and we have the training and resources to make sure that you receive the help you need. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. Call today.
What Does the ADA Have to Do with Hearing Loss?
The ADA requires all employers to provide help – called “reasonable accommodations” – to job applicants and employees who have a hearing disability. The accommodations will, of course, vary based on the needs of the particular individual with a hearing disability. Some employees may need very little, or no, assistance, while others may need some more involved accommodations.
Remember, however, that the requested accommodations must be reasonable. The ADA does not require employers to provide a hearing disability accommodation if doing so would place an “undue hardship” on the employer. Normally, the phrase “undue hardship” is defined as something that is significantly difficult or expensive for the employer.
What types of Reasonable Accommodations May an Employee with a Hearing Disability Need?
Here are some of the more common hearing disability accommodations requested in the workplace:
1. A sign language interpreter
2. Assistive technology, like a TTY, telephone headset, voice carry-over telephone, or captioned telephone
3. Memos and notes put in writing, rather than delivered orally
4. Work area adjustments
5. Additional time off, paid or unpaid for hearing issues, such as training a new hearing dog
6. Altering an employee’s job functions
7. Any other modification to ensure that the hearing impaired employee can enjoy equal employment opportunities
How Can You Request an Accommodation?
There is no specific way in which accommodation needs to be communicated. Rather, the employee can simply request an accommodation from his or her supervisor in a way that makes the most sense. Reasonable accommodation can also come from the employee’s family member, doctor, or other representatives.
An employer may appropriately ask for more information with regard to the accommodation, and the ADA anticipates that the employer and employee can engage in a constructive dialogue about the request.
Is an Employer Required to Grant Every Accommodation Request?
No. If an accommodation request would result in undue hardship for the employer, then the employer can deny the accommodation request. As you might expect, there is significant litigation and case law around the notion of what is, or is not, an “undue hardship” for an employer.
In addition, an employer does not have to eliminate an essential function of a person’s job to accommodate a hearing disability. The accommodation should be so that the employee can perform his or her essential functions. As with our example of Larry above, it would not be reasonable to ask that Larry no longer work as an electrician because being an electrician is his essential function.
In sum, you should be aware that you have rights when it comes to getting some assistance from your employer to do your job when you have a hearing disability. To learn more about what hearing loss rights you have, we invite you to consult with an experienced hearing loss attorney.
Speak with Hearing Loss Lawyers in Jacksonville for Help in the Workplace
Hearing loss is not something that should stop you from leading a productive life. Also, you can file a claim if your workplace was the cause of your hearing loss. Hearing loss claims are usually workplace-related injuries, such as Industrial Deafness, Tinnitus, and Acoustic Shock, but can also result from presbycusis or old age.
To receive compensation, the injured must prove that their hearing was intact prior to any industrial noise exposure and that the industrial noise exposure caused the hearing loss. However, you will likely need the opinion of an appropriate medical provider to determine the causal nature of the loss. Whether you sustain a partial or severe hearing loss, you may be entitled to compensation.
At RITE Law, we started the firm for one reason – to help those in Florida and elsewhere have the resources of a firm that was “big enough to fight but small enough to care.” At Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis (RITE Law), we have the resources and experience to go to trial when it is necessary, and we have the wisdom to advise you appropriately.
Without help from the hearing loss lawyers in Jacksonville on the RITE team, trying to make insurance claims can lead to a lot of frustration and time and money lost. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure every detail of your claim is addressed. We answer any questions you have and stand in your corner to give you the best opportunity to receive all the benefits you deserve.
Expect lots of attention, passionate representation, and a healthy disdain for big insurance companies. We believe that leads to the best result possible. Unlike larger firms, your case isn’t handed to a paralegal or assistant to do the heavy lifting. The attorney you meet initially is the one who will be by your side every step of the way.
Let the RITE Law hearing loss lawyers in Jacksonville. When you turn to our firm, we spring into action, making sure that every detail of your claim is addressed. Call us for help. Our number is (904) 500-RITE or you can fill out our contact form online. We provide a free case evaluation, so feel free to call us today.