By MICHAEL FOX on AUGUST 31, 2017 2:00PM
in EMPLOYMENT LAW,HIRING,HUMAN RESOURCES.
Q. The recruiting manager of our company is interviewing a deaf applicant for an open position. What should she keep in mind during the interview?
A. Your interviewer may want to review general interview rules that apply to individuals with disabilities. In particular, he or she should not ask questions about applicants’ medical conditions.
This applies even if the individual has an obvious hearing impairment or if the individual discloses his or her hearing impairment. For example, an employer should not ask a deaf applicant whether he or she uses a hearing aid or has had medical procedures related to his or her hearing.
One exception to this line of questioning is that if an individual has an obvious hearing impairment or chooses to disclose that he or she has a hearing impairment and the interviewer reasonably believes that the applicant would require an accommodation. In those cases, the employer may ask what accommodation the applicant would need.
Remember to keep any information that is disclosed confidential (other than to necessary parties).
Also note that an employer can ask questions that relate to the individual’s ability to perform the job’s essential functions with or without a reasonable accommodation, such as questions about communication skills, ability to meet safety standards and respond to instruction.
Vague doesn't even begin to cut it, but the major issue regarding job applications is find a way to GET an interview. Currently employers baulk at offering Deaf people one and resort to ploys e.g. 'We thank you for your application, unfortunately the position has now been filled', or more likely, no response at all.
There does not appear to be any guide/explanation regarding how to manage any support a deaf person has turned up with, which we find, is usually a killer and highly negative image, that suggests to an employer the cost of hiring or supporting someone with hearing loss is a major and expensive issue to them.
Deaf and HoH people would really like to see a comprehensive definition of such interviews and, the reasons why almost 79% of all employers are highly reluctant to do one. As the majority of employers are very unaware and uncertain of our capabilities, it suggests neither the access laws or awareness is getting through at all either, as at the start of the UK and American equality for disabled laws, seminars were organised to circumvent them because so many deaf and disabled utilised the laws to sue for discrimination.
While discrimination has to be addressed, the fact legal means were a favoured option by us, put employers on the defensive and damage limitation stances. This continues to this day, but, suggests employers now treat us with a lot of suspicion which makes for more difficulties. What is needed is a no-holds barred meeting between representatives of the deaf/HoH and disabled areas and employers, where we can all use plain English with no comeback by either areas, to suss out how best we can both help each other.
It would appear NOT inviting disabled or deaf activism to such a meeting is the optimum approach, as this would just make a shouting match again, our representation has failed us, and we, have failed to elect sensible reps. I think plain talking between employer and potential employee would do what deaf and disabled approaches haven't, create real awareness.