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If Human Resources Folks Act That Way...

By February 4, 2011

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...No wonder deaf people often have difficulty getting hired. I just finished watching the segment on the ABC "What Would You Do?" show about deaf discrimination. The most upsetting part is not the actor manager's discrimination, it is the fact that three human resources professionals "advise" the manager on how to subtly discriminate against deaf job applicants. They are essentially saying it is okay to discriminate against deaf job applicants, just hide it. The problem with hidden or subtle discrimination is that it is hard to prove.

Related: Work and Being Deaf

February 4, 2011 at 10:09 pm
(1) Amy Cohen Efron says:

You and I think alike, and I was so upset when I learned that these people would dare to give this kind of advice to perpetuating discrimination in a discreet way. No wonder these ‘gatekeepers’ are the ones who discriminate people with disabilities. I wonder what kind of training they are getting, and what kind of advice they get from their lawyers? How can we make them accountable when they are practicing this way?

These three people MUST be HELD ACCOUNTABLE! Oh god, I am so upset.

February 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm
(2) Amy Cohen Efron says:

Also, we need to rally behind NAD, ALDA, and other associations to confront HR associations to put the stop of this kind of practice. We have a concrete proof/evidence that THREE HR specialists gave similar advice.

We can start with New Jersey’s HR association or licensure board.

February 4, 2011 at 11:32 pm
(3) Deafnet says:

This is not RIGHT thing to do.
HR is where everything start and stop!
JABIL Circuit could be one of them!

February 4, 2011 at 11:52 pm
(4) Deafnet says:

This ought to be the HR a serious wake-up call.

February 5, 2011 at 2:17 am
(5) InsaneMisha says:

I’m really glad you made this blog to send this strong message across the public. We need them to see where we’re coming from because some of us are having really hard time getting the job out there and find the doors slam in my face way too often. Everyone needs a wake up call and see what we need to work to feed the family and pay the bills, etc. No time to waste because we can do what the hearing people can do…we’re doing the same thing, except we can’t hear but who cares whether we can hear or not. Please, people, search your soul and allow us to prove that we’re capable doing the job like others are doing.

February 5, 2011 at 2:35 am
(6) Don G. says:

I haven’t seen the episode yet, although I did read an online summary. What is also significant is that people obviously recognize that it is wrong, although they seem to not be speaking up about it, because they seem to have the sense that this type of discrimination (audism) is somehow “legal”, which it is, because audism has not been specifically codified into law, nor have people been sensitized toward it. This is why simple “discrimination” does NOT work as a term for what we Deaf people experience, and why a specific term (audism) IS NEEDED!

February 5, 2011 at 8:41 am
(7) Tired of SSI says:

I have been fighting for 30 years trying to get NAD involved with employment discrimination and they are focusing elsewhere like SuperBowl commericals, Redskins game captions, etc that has NOTHING to do with our dire need to get deaf people off SSI/SSDI because employment discrimination is rampant and NAD are not doing anything about it. I have sued two big employers for employment discrimination

I used to work for airline as ground support crew until I got suspended due to safety and sued, and lost then I work for Federal employer who refuses to provide video phone costing me 9,000 in lawyers fee and got video phone but no money all of this without NAD’s help!

It is so damming! Now everyone saw the TV show last night, finally WOKE UP that discrimination is clearly present and still is going on!

We MUST stop complaining about accommodation needs and FOCUS on serious issue on employment discrimination! Forget caption needs, forget video phone needs, forget sports game captions. FOCUS employment discrimination FIRST!!! Deaf people needs to get off SSI/SSDI and be productive member of society.

February 5, 2011 at 8:48 am
(8) Gally82NYU84 says:

Indeed it was upsetting to see the discrimatory behavior being taught. We want to believe laws like ADA make a difference a difference and sometimes it does. I was so relieved to see someone take a stand in a good way. The world needs more people like the guy who objected.

Deaf people ought to start wearing wires that video and tape these instances of discrimination.

February 5, 2011 at 11:09 am
(9) deafness says:

One problem with your suggestion of wires. It wouldn’t work because the discrimination that was suggested by the HR folks, would have taken place AFTER the deaf job applicant left. Wires and hidden video wouldn’t capture that.

February 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm
(10) Joanna says:

I was jumping up and down when those comments were made, excited because….THERE IT IS ON PUBLIC TV!!!!

I will agree that employment should be a paramount priority among technology advances. We really need to break the dependence on a system that has yet to make a move in employment and communication facilitation.


February 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm
(11) Sweetrosie says:

Finally, caught on national TV! Pah! Those HR workers are a disgrace, SHAME on them, for their subtle and outright discrimination, (all done in a sneaky whisper.) Bravo to the ABC TV show “What Would You Do?” who caught the HR workers on tape! This is a terrible injustice to the deaf community worldwide. Thank goodness they got “caught” on tape & it proves discrimination is REAL! Wake up America! Deaf ppl are not making this stuff up. Something needs to change ASAP. Those HR ppl should be fired, re-trained & given a “sensitivity workshop,” & maybe fine them money $$ (a few paychecks) for their lying, sneaky, & unprofessional deameanor caught on the TV show.
It was very upsetting watching the deaf women getting discriminated against, as they asked for a job application. I have a deaf-blind, adult son, and he has been discriminated over & over by the so-called “system” that is supposed to offer support services. It is hard to trust some ppl. Be proactive & make change happen. Good luck!

February 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm
(12) Howard says:

The show not only showed discrimination but also prevalent attitudes towards deaf individuals, but I also think it showed something else, for lack of a better description, “Deaf Phobia”. A phobia developed by the unknown and fear of working with deaf persons. Deaf persons “can’t” syndrom, how can someone deaf do something? We need to do a better job of showing deaf people “can do” many things and with today’s technology – there are ways to overcome any objections that an employer or HR person might have.

February 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm
(13) Rob Abbott says:

I am a deaf HR professional and n the past couple of decades I have experienced blatant discrimination based on my deafness in the workplace and in employment situations against myself and others in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community. Some of the most blatant and direct from fellow HR people. There is a prevalent attitude in American Business favoring people who are politically expedient and concise in their communication style. It comes from the assumption that the more verbally expressive a person can be in a muted sort of way, the higher their intelligence. Even people who are incompetent are sometimes favored if they are good verbal communicators. It is the essence of the judgment correlating articulation and intelligence that this comes from.

It is a problem that is not easily resolved, as disability is not now part of the Affirmative Action reporting requirements for the OPFCCP’s Joint Reporting. However, annual training of managers in companies that are subject to Affirmative Action plan requirements easily become coaching sessions by HR staff members on how “not to get caught” illegally discriminating against disabled applicants. Because applicants to hires are not tracked, there is little means to demonstrate systemic discriminatory practices. It is however, more the case, than the exception (in my opinion).

February 9, 2011 at 12:24 am
(14) Kay says:

Glad to see the protests to discriminating against hearig loss, and need of hearing aids. I was eliminated from a volunteer job that I really enjoyed at the senior center,of all places, because of need of hearing aids & phones for those of us who use them. I thought administrators working with seniors would understand. I was told not to turn phone volume up because of privacy & could not always catch what was said behind me. People do not understand aids are like microphones & sound goes in a straight line. Chldren can be hard of hearing to! – & have you tried to understand what is said by the person in the car passenger seat as they talk out their window? It bounces round & round the glass!

February 9, 2011 at 8:47 am
(15) mona says:

i didn’t need to see the show to know this happens-i also agree that it is good for people to see this! Sad but true-i know all jobs i have had recently (except one) after found i was deaf-did not keep me on – i know this is reason! i know it. they dont tell you of course-i know in my heart! i am a great worker, great work ethics, work hard, dependable, reliable, and they hire people that just work to get paid and are lazy, unreliable, etc. but not “handicapped”. most employers would hire a person in a wheelchair before a deaf person-i actually worked somehwere that was very challenging being a CSR-and one of the girls actually said why dont you just quit-you dont like it anyway-reason being i was totally frustrated and out of my league but i tried best i could-fellow employess get very upset-i could not hanlde the phone well because too noisy, i have cochlear implant – but when noisy no matter. i feel very sad this happens-but am glad the world saw!!

February 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm
(16) NANCY says:

I see many deaf people who earn ssi/ssd benefit but they have hard time to pay the bills. Most deaf people have earn low income.. Now I see everything is expensive foods, water, electric, clothes, and many thing for the bills because it comes up increase the price every year. Many deaf people who have suffer to pay the bills but they have no enough benefit profit. They can’t go to vacation for expensive trip. They are not rich….
Vesid doesn’t help them for look the job right now… I see who have frustration for their life period….

February 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm
(17) deafmtnbear says:

Unfortunately I did not see the show, but I am really thrilled that so many people not only did, but have responded so strongly about it! I was thrilled that MLK simply rallied strongly to the entire Black nation and people stood up for what was right and became a force. WE are NOT a force. The NAD and others are not a force. We CAN become a force by simply accepting ourselves as a non-hearing people as a body inspite of our individual “pecking order” as to how or why we “became or were born” Deaf, but simply that each and every one of us ARE DEAF. How we are individually affected is not an issue. WE ARE DEAF PEOPLE AND WE ARE ALL AFFECTED BY THE HEARING SOCIETY. Period. When we as a people stop the silly hairsplitting and bickering on the differences about our deafnesses and simply stand strong and rally together with and about the fact of our Deafness as a Nation, then and only then can we hope to emerge through the powerful forceses of the hearing discrimination.

February 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm
(18) Carol Hill says:

I know how they must feel.. My deaf son told me about this program and how terrible it was–but I know also first hand–as I went job hunting with my older, deaf son as an interpreter, and they all said the same thing–because he was deaf there was always the safety factor in not hiring him. He graduated top in his class as a welder–in an all hearing class–but still cannot get a job.

February 11, 2011 at 2:01 pm
(19) NANCY says:

I read the open position for an application job but the companies require communication word. companies doesn’t want hire the deaf and hard hearing because they doesn’t want get an interpreter. I just wonder why the companies say require the communication word…. I didn’t understand why…

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