I believe anyone who is deaf would remember this video from ABC television show, "What Would You Do?" with a subtitle of "What Would You Do If You Saw Someone Discriminate Against A Deaf Applicant?". Two students of Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf were acting as a Deaf applicant and an ASL interpreter to experiment whether or not anyone would speak up when they see discrimination.
What actually caught my attention was a woman (her face was blurred for her safety) told a cafe manager not to tell a Deaf applicant his real reason for not hiring her. What she meant was as a manager, you aren't supposed to tell a job applicant that you don't want to hire her or him because s/he is deaf. Otherwise, you'll be facing possible discrimination lawsuit. And guess what? She worked in Human Resources. Who knows what goes on in Human Resource Services? Have you noticed how strangers rarely stood up for the girls? Sad, but that's the world we live in. At least, it's eye-opening for every deaf person out there.
Based on research studies and my experience, I'm writing about the signs of discrimination against your deafness.
1. When you tell a hiring manager you are deaf and that you need an interpreter in an email or on the phone, they either don't answer or simply say they will get back to you but never do.
2. You tell them that you are deaf or hard of hearing in an email, but they don't respond to your email message.
3. You call someone about a job using a relay call, and as soon as the operator indicates that you're deaf, they hang up on you.
4. While you are being interviewed, you see a concerned look on an interviewer's face when you are signing (with your interpreter being there, of course).
5. When you go to a place to apply for job in person, you notice a manager goes somewhere else to avoid you, and when you approach them, they are reluctant to take your application.
6. A manager tells you the job may not be right for you because of your deafness.
7. An interviewer asks if you can speak or hear clearly. They even ask you if you can read or write.
8. When you are done with your job interview, they say they'll call you but never do. When you call or email to follow up, they don't respond to any of your calls or email messages.
9. During the interview, they test your skills by giving you a work sample but don't do the same to hearing applicants.
10. Your manager treats you different than how they treat others. They give you a hard time, are being disrespectful to you, and/or are taking advantage of you.
11. They never give you a promotion or let you climb up the corporate ladder.
12. They don't give you a raise.
13. After finding out you're deaf, they refuse to speak with you in person.
I will come back here to update if there is anything else I can think of.
UPDATED: The list I made above is just to show you that the employers don't want anything to do with your deafness. All of them are based on deaf people's true stories, including me. Some people think that employers can't blatantly tell deaf people they have a problem with their deafness. Well, that is untrue because it has happened to me and some other deaf people. Some employers will tell you like it is, some won't.
It is important to notice that just because it's only your words against theirs does not mean you can't file an EEOC complaint against them. It is up to EEOC to decide whether or not that is discrimination, and they also will investigate your case to determine if they violate the law.
If you ever face serious employment discrimination , do not be afraid to speak up and go to EEOC to file a complaint against company or someone who discriminates against you. Even if EEOC finds that the company do not violate any law, don't be discouraged. Keep in mind that whenever you find yourself being discriminated, stand up for yourself and the deaf community.
The next article will be about what you should do and what you shouldn't do when applying for job or going to your job interview. Thanks for the reading and stay tuned!