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How the ADA Applies to Individuals with a Hearing Disability

EEOC Releases Updated Guidance

On January 24, 2023, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released updated guidance explaining how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to job applicants and employees with hearing disabilities. The guidance explains:

  • When an employer may ask an applicant or employee questions about a hearing condition and how it should treat voluntary disclosures;

  • What types of reasonable accommodations applicants or employees with hearing disabilities may need;

  • How an employer should handle safety concerns about applicants and employees with hearing disabilities; and

  • How an employer can ensure that no employee is harassed because of a hearing disability or any other disability.

The EEOC enforces the employment provisions of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities. Title I of the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more employees. Most states also have laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of disability. State law may apply to smaller employers—for instance, those with less than 15 employees—and may provide protections in addition to those granted under the ADA. To ensure compliance, employers should be mindful of the federal, state, and local laws that apply to them and protect against discrimination.

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