Accomodating employees with
Individuals with mild to moderate hearing impairments may be "hard of hearing," but are not "deaf." These individuals differ from deaf individuals in that they use their hearing to assist in communication with others. As discussed below, people who are deaf and those who are hard of hearing can be individuals with disabilities within the meaning of the ADA.
A hearing impairment can be caused by many physical conditions (for example, childhood illnesses, pregnancy-related illnesses, injury, heredity, age, excessive or prolonged exposure to noise), and result in varying degrees of hearing loss. Generally, hearing impairments are categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound. An individual with a moderate hearing impairment may be able to hear sound, but have difficulty distinguishing specific speech patterns in a conversation.
The ADA requires employers to make reasonable accommodations so that workers with disabilities can secure and retain employment.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 ("Amendments Act" or "ADAAA"), is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities.
Individuals with disabilities include those who have impairments that substantially limit a major life activity, have a record (or history) of a substantially limiting impairment, or are regarded as having a disability. Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees as well as state and local government employers.
"Undue Hardship" Under the ADA "Undue hardship" under the ADA means "significant difficulty or expense" for the employer.
Factors the employer may consider in weighing undue hardship include: The standards for reasonable accommodation and undue hardship have proven difficult for courts to identify and apply uniformly.
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Instead, the law provides an exception if accommodation would cause "undue hardship" to the employer's business.