This is good news coming out of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission---especially for this deaf woman who was discriminated against because of her deafness. Here's a snippet of the article below, with more below the jump:
DALLAS – A Dallas jury today rendered a verdict against staffing company Smith Personnel Solutions, awarding $184,400 to a deaf applicant who was turned away when she tried to apply for a job as a stock clerk, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which had brought the suit, announced today.
And how did Smith Personnel Solutions discriminate against Jacquelyn Moncada, the deaf woman? Here's what they did below the jump:
The jury awarded Jacquelyn Moncada $34,400 for lost wages and emotional harm
and an additional $150,000 in punitive damages based on the EEOC’s charges
that Smith refused to consider her for an open job of a stock clerk because
of her deafness. Smith did not take Moncada’s application nor interview her
for the job, instead telling her through her sign language interpreter that
there was no open job for her.
The jury verdict followed the presentation of evidence by the EEOC that
Moncada and a sign language interpreter went to Smith seeking work as a
stocker. The Smith employee told her that he had no job for her and that she
could be "dangerous" because she "couldn’t communicate." Moncada had worked
for almost three years as a stock clerk in a previous job, and had never
experienced problems communicating because of her disability.
This form of discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it was wrong of this staffing company to do so. This company has four branch offices in Texas and over 650 employees. Was Jacquelyn entitled to the job? No, but what she was entitled to was the chance to apply for the stock clerk job. This form of discrimination against deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans is known as audism. I experience this form of discrimination on a constant basis. How does this usually manifest itself? Below are ways in which it appears:
- In which you are condescended to and talked to like you're a three-year old child with exaggerated mouth movements, and ridiculously slow speech.
- Assumptions made about your intelligence based on your deafness.
- Thinking that you can't be hired because accommodations will cost too much (which is ignorant since tax credits are given to businesses for providing accommodations).
- Being turned down for jobs if you mention your deafness on your resume. As a result, I don't include it in my resume.
- Being told directly to your face that your deafness can't be afforded in the workplace.
- Plenty of patronizing from well-meaning people who've never met a deaf person before.
- Assumptions that you know ASL or oral language when you don't. Not every deaf person fits the "stereotype" of the deaf person as represented in the media.
I could go on and on.....but I'd be talking your ears off. (Pun intended). With that said, it's good that this deaf woman found justice with the assistance of the EEOC. Employment discrimination takes many forms, and disability discrimination is just one of them. And I've faced that in the past when confronting potential employers, and let me tell you, it sucks when you know your disability is seen as a major negative by a prospective employer. It does take a certain amount of braveness when sending in a resume and going in for an interview, and it's not easy to do so. So, if any of you are potential employers, and you have a deaf possible hire coming in for an interview, please give that deaf person a fair shake in the interview, and don't make these assumptions as highlighted above.