Like all other employees, deaf individuals have the right to a work environment that is free from harassment and other types of discriminatory treatment. Unfortunately, hearing-impaired individuals may struggle in their workplaces and at other stages of the employment process due to discrimination. Unfortunately, misunderstandings about deafness, blatant prejudice, and other challenges may affect their professional lives.
If you are a deaf employee or are searching for employment as a deaf individual in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, you will benefit from understanding more about your rights. If you experience any type of prejudice in the workplace or at any stage in the employment process, you do not have to remain silent. You have the right to speak out about your experience and insist on fair and reasonable treatment.
What happens if you experienced discrimination?
Discrimination can take many different forms, and you may not be certain that what you are experiencing counts as discriminatory treatment. Deaf employees are not less capable as hearing employees, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, along with state and local laws, protect your rights in the workplace. Additionally, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the state and local anti-discrimination agencies can protect your rights during the job search and while at work. If you experienced discrimination, you could file a claim with the EEOC or a state or local agency before you move forward with a court case against your employer.
The agency may investigate the claim, perhaps reviewing any documentation you provide and requesting a response from the employer. The agency may also ask you to go through mediation. If there is a determination that discrimination took place, the agency may seek a settlement from your employer. Remedies may include giving you a job, providing lost wages, offering appropriate compensation and more. If the agency is not able to settle with your employer on your behalf, it may then move forward with a lawsuit or a formal hearing, although it is far more likely that the agency will dismiss the claim, leaving you free to go to court.
Fight for your rights and interests
You will benefit from an explanation of your rights and how you can protect your interests if you experienced discrimination as a deaf applicant or employee. Victims of discriminatory treatment often do not speak out due to fear of further mistreatment and other problems, but you do not have to navigate this alone. It may be helpful to speak with a professional who can provide you with insight regarding your legal rights and the ways you can challenge the discrimination through the EEOC or other agency process or the judicial system.