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EEOC alleges Walmart discriminated against deaf workers

Walmart stores throughout California have an obligation to comply with local and federal employment laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has alleged in a lawsuit that a Walmart store violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when store management chose not to accommodate deaf employees who needed support to receive training and workplace communications.

A spokeswoman for the EEOC said that deaf or hearing-impaired employees have a right to access workplace information and participate in meetings. When employers fail to provide reasonable accommodations for workers’ disabilities, they deny those people a fair chance to enjoy the benefits of employment.

The ADA grants employers flexibility when determining how to accommodate a worker’s disability. An employer does not have to fulfill a request for a specific accommodation, but the organization must propose a reasonable solution to the problem. The Job Accommodation Network suggests that employers can include hearing-impaired people in workplace communications by providing a sign language interpreter or using written materials on notepads or text messages. The law urges employers to work with individual employees to select reasonable accommodations when difficulties arise.

A person who encounters discrimination or harassment at work might not find a supervisor or manager to be a reliable source of information about employment law. A person may receive an impartial view of legal rights by consulting an attorney. An attorney may be able to organize evidence about lost work opportunities due to sex, religion, disability, age or race and pursue a settlement. Direct negotiations with an employer may not resolve the problem, but an attorney might recommend filing a lawsuit. A pretrial settlement or jury award might provide the person with compensation for lost pay and career damage.

Source: HR Dive, “EEOC alleges DC Walmart failed to accommodate deaf employees“, Lisa Burden, June 19, 2018

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