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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Employers must provide ASL interpreters for the interview!

Yes, you are looking at the title above, "Employers must provide ASL interpreters for the interview!", which is what I've been hearing from the moment this blog started. Surely, ADA law requires employers to accommodate Deaf applicants when they're hired, but let's not forget that they can't be forced to hire them.

There was an article about a case of Deaf applicant suing Toy "R" Us for not providing an ASL interpreter for the group interview. So, why would Toy "R" Us want to pay out of their own pocket for an ASL interpreter if they weren't sure they were going to hire a Deaf applicant? Think about it. They couldn't afford to throw away their money on an expensive ASL interpreter just for the interview. The money issue is completely irrelevant to Deaf applicants because they don't pay. Now, you wonder why the VR services would have to provide ASL interpreters even though the so-called law says it's the actually employers' responsibilities.

Let's just say, for instance, you are considering to hire one of two licensed painters for your new home. One of them is an able-bodied painter, and the other one is without legs from knees down. You realize both of them are equally very good and well-qualified for the painting job. If you hire a disabled painter, you would have to spend more money on a high ladder and other equipment to accommodate that person to make sure he or she can get the job done. On the other hand, if you hire a non-disabled painter, you'd know it wouldn't cost you a thing except your payment for the job done. Now, if you can be honest with yourself, which one would you prefer? I'm gonna let you answer that one for yourself.

The same is true for most companies.

Hiring employers will always say no when you request an ASL interpreter concerning their money...no matter what the law says. They just won't do it...in a subtle way, of course.

This is not to say you would have to stay down and let them get away with discrimination, but employers being burdened with accommodation responsibilities just doesn't work. They know the law requires them to accommodate Deaf employees at their expenses, so they just choose not to hire us. For that reason, it puts more and more Deaf people out of work. 

It's not fair to Deaf applicants because it does not make them look good in job competition. Hiring companies are always baiting the biggest and the best fish they can find. They are not hiring someone because of what they can do for that person, they are hiring someone because of what that person can do for them. It's something that all Deaf applicants need to keep in mind when they are applying for a job. To compete against hearing people in this economy is seriously intense!

The real question is, why couldn't the government have enforced the law that they would be the responsible ones to provide accommodations to all persons with disabilities in workplace? Wouldn't that make job opportunities more accessible to us in the first place?

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Deaf Applicants: Tired of Hunting Job?

I had a recent conversation with two people about SSI/SSD and Deaf people's lack of effort in searching for a job. I had to remind them that it was not easy for people with disabilities to get hired due to discrimination and that they had no choice but to receive disability cash to live. They argued that it was probably just an excuse because the Deaf people they knew gave up job searching so soon and they didn't try hard enough to get a job. They saw a lot of their jobless Deaf friends being on disability benefits for a long period of time. Well, those were their words, not mine. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention they were deaf as well.

A couple of years ago, my VR counselor and employment specialist were so surprised that I was very persistent about getting a job and that I was filling out over 500 job applications in the last two years. They were really amazed by how hard I worked to find a job. They said no other Deaf clients have ever done what I did. It made me wonder whether or not their Deaf clients were doing enough.

Another time, my employment specialist seemed to complain that many Deaf clients just sat back and expected them to go out and find a job for them. So, it was why they were always asking me if I was actively filling out job applications.

I am not judging anyone based on the information I've received and I am not saying that everyone is the same, but I'm just pondering how often it is for Deaf people to stop searching for job abruptly. I wonder if a lack of effort may actually play some role in skyrocketing Deaf unemployment.

Nevertheless, they shouldn't be blamed if they have given up job searching after three years or more, especially knowing that they did the best as they could. The feelings of hopeless and insecurity after seeing a lot of rejection are very common. In this recession, either it's going to take a long time to snag a job or there are far fewer job opportunities than before. However, if you haven't done the best as you could to find a job, then you might want to think about whether or not you could have done differently if you had tried harder.

Overall, that's just my observation.

I would expect to see more and more people out of work everyday. We don't really know for how long it's going to last and when things will go back to the way it was before economic crisis, or maybe things won't be the same as they used to be economy wise.

I notice many people, both hearing and deaf, are commenting that "it's not only Deaf people or persons with disabilities that have difficulty getting a job. Hearing/able-bodied people are suffering, too." While that may be true, I just think that they don't realize how serious problem the Deaf community is really facing right now. In the past, with good economy, we still had the same problem as we do today. Nothing has changed at all. That's the big problem, especially in this recession. They said hearing people are facing the same challenges as Deaf. What challenges? What do they have in common? That does not make any sense to me. I'd hate to say it, but that's a flat-out denial.

To grasp the concept of this problem, you should read the other blogs I wrote here in the archives. Please, check 'em out.

Any opinions? Disagreement? Please post your comment.

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