Deaf Employees and Workplace Discrimination

Facing discrimination at work? Deaf people face significantly higher than average rates of workplace discrimination. Deaf People of Color, DeafBlind people, and Deaf and disabled people face exponentially greater rates of workplace discrimination. Discrimination can mean being prevented from doing your job due to inaccessibility in any form, being treated differently than other workers, changing your job duties, not offering you the same pay, hours, and benefits as others doing the same job, or being fired. There is no question that chronic workplace discrimination contributes to a wide range of mental health issues, including stress, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, isolation and so on.

Take action against discrimination:

1.  Document every situation involving discrimination. If you need help writing, ask a family member or friend, or get professional services from a Deaf-friendly business such as T.S. Writing.

2. Discuss the problem and your needs with your supervisor. Look for solutions such as reasonable accommodations (interpreters, assistants, etc.).

3. Talk to your EEO or HR department. They may be able to work with your supervisor and come up with accommodations.

4. File an ADA complaint online . Use this link: Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form.

5. File an EEOC complaint. See this link: How to File a Charge of Employment Discrimination.

6. Get legal advice from an employment law firm or lawyer specializing in employment law. If possible, find a Deaf lawyer who may be more familiar with your issues and able to communicate easily with you.

7. Get support from  Deaf Counseling Center. When appropriate, your counselor can write letters attesting to the negative impact of workplace discrimination on your mental health. These can help strengthen any formal complaint or lawsuit you may file. Our counselors can work with you to develop strategies for coping with workplace discrimination and its emotional impact.

8. As a last resort, do your best to find another job.  Consider taking the self-employment route and starting your own business where you can be your own boss. More and more Deaf people are running their own businesses and finding success (i.e. Mozzeria). Connect with your local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR/DORS) for support.

To cite: Duchesneau, S. & McCullough, C. (2015, March 5).Deaf Employees and Workplace Discrimination. Deaf Counseling Today. Retrieved (date retrieved), from https://deafcounseling.com/deaf-employees-and-workplace-discrimination

Related articles:

Deaf Customers Sue Starbucks for Discrimination

EEOC Sues FedEx for Not Accommodating Deaf Workers

Toys R’ Us Discriminated Against Deaf Job Applicant

Gallaudet Intern Sues NPR, Alleging Employment Discrimination

People with Invisible Disabilities Fight for Understanding

  1. Dan March 11, 2015

    Thank you for sharing fabulous tips. There is another article on discrimination you may want to read.

  2. Mark Falso September 1, 2015

    Upon finding this today after months ago I wrote my 100 page dissertation report on my discrimination and unemployment and recommendations.

    You have good valid tips for any Deaf people. Please do understand that when a Deaf person reads this and they will say that it is not good enough. They want total different method. In my case, as I recommended in my report that there should be and I believe we should have NELS-National Employment Lottery System. That is to force employers to hire ALL minorities including Deaf, Blind, Disabled, etc. after the Department of Labor drafts name cards out of the drum two weeks after the initial start of advertising for an employee or employee when the company Human Resource Manager contacted the DOL. Employers can not fire anyone for ten years after they are hired so that it would not be as a loophole. This would be the MOST tough law ever and I am trying to pass that as a petition right now so I can submit to my elected politicians. No kidding!

    As I try to be reasonable to read your tips by calamity without any mediocrity at the least, they are good tips.

    • Deaf Counseling Center September 28, 2015

      Thank you for sharing about the employment lottery legislation you are
      trying to pass. Are you referring to federal employers or all employers in
      the US?


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