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Sunday, October 6, 2013

What's your discrimination experience in employment?

Almost every deaf or hard of hearing person encounters discrimination because of their hearing loss. On my blog, I have seen a lot of commenters that shared their experiences about hiring employers or their bosses who discriminated against their deafness.

Whether we admit it or not, employers & co-workers may not feel comfortable to work with their deaf counterparts for many reasons. Their perceptions of Deaf people are ignorant & stereotypical, & they are scared of deafness. Of course, not all hearing people are the same, but the ignorance still exists. Also, ADA pushes potential employers away from people with disabilities, especially deaf applicants for money reasons.

When you are in a minority community, it is very likely that you will be discriminated for whatever reason it is. We live in a hearing world where we would have to work a lot harder to match up to their so-called standards. Sometimes, even if we do, we still would be overlooked or ignored. That is discrimination.

I have my own shares of hearing loss discrimination in college, workplaces, job interviews, & job search. I am pretty sure you do, too.

What was your discrimination experience?
http://facebook.com/DeafUnemployment
http://deafcantgetjobs.blogspot.com

11 comments:

  1. When I told potential employers about my deafness during the interview, the facial expression and body language would change immediately. (What do you think we're looking at folks?) The longer I kept my deafness out of the conversation, the better the interview went. Now, this isn't some vast hearing conspiracy, People are afraid of the unknown or unusual. When I finally did get hired, I had to be better, work harder and be more professional than any of my co-workers. My very first review summed up what hearing people think. 'Will is a credit to his people.'
    I still have a copy of that review. (and yes, I'm willing to scan and post it if the moderator will allow.) For now I'm keeping it safe for legal reasons.
    Hearing people are not evil, they're dumb, ignorant, fearful idiots.
    For years I was telling myself that I was blazing a trail. Making things better for the next deaf person who came along. Sadly, that isn't the case. I can only change a few minds at a time. A new batch of ignorant idiots crops up every time I turn around. Deaf folk like me are going to have to blaze their own trail. It sounds scary, I know. What's stopping you from going into business for yourself?

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience & comment.

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    2. Thank you so much for sharing your experience & comment.

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    3. The only thing I can do is go into business for myself, because working 'with others' in Hearing World has not been secure for my income consistency. I bought a rental property and live off the rental income.

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  2. This was before I got my aides. The office Accountant was an ass. Every single time he wanted my attention he would start yelling for me from his desk first which severely annoyed the other co-workers because I couldn't hear him from the distance he was at. This meant that my co-worker behind me had to get up from her cubical, come around to mine and tap me on the shoulder (I also wore a headphone for occasional customer calls). THAN he would get up when he saw my co-worker get up and start yelling at me saying I need to listen harder when he called for me. Never mind I had told him repeatedly that I can't hear on my left side and after about the third time started responding with my own catty comments to him. But what made me quite was when he stomped around to the front of my desk screaming at me to listen up and start showing him some respect. I got up, walked into the president's office and said "I quite, I don't need this kind of bullshit." They tried to get me to stay but even with an offered raise it just wasn't worth working in an antagonized environment.

    I am so happy we live in a computer communications kind of world. :)

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    1. yeah, internet marketing is a great hope for non-verbal/audio communication styles! Im working on building a virtual real estate wholesaling system :)

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  3. I experience discriminations all my life and it is everywhere I turn. There is nothing I can do about it.

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  4. After college i got into real estate. when the market crashed I had to go back to menial labor jobs for steady income. i worked in a grocery deli for about a year. it was a disaster. alot of misunderstandings. im not sure how much i can say because of legal considerations. I am consulting with lawyers to sue them for either disability discrimination or hostile work environment. They denied reasonable request for accommodation. I wanted texting instead of depending on hearing my name on overhead public announcement speaker. I ended up getting in trouble once when I didnt hear my name. Disciplinary write up, which led to probation, which caused my termination. Im 40 and have never held a job for more than a year or two. I guess its because I dont hear. I accept who I am, why cant they? I guess the only way to enforce ADA is take them to court. Oh well.

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  5. I really relate to Alivia H's post about the antagonistic work environment. I'm almost 50 and have had severe hearing loss since my early 30s. One very ignorant thing I encountered was a co-worker who would come up behind me and clap twice, very sharply to get my attention. I told her I wasn't her dog and she didn't catch me chewing on a slipper. We all had a good laugh, but I was shocked that she thought this was an effective way to work with me.

    Most recently, however, I left a job with the federal government (who ironically, hired me because they "needed" diversity. Unfortunately, they didn't actually want diversity, except on paper). I started out as a supervisor in a call center, a job I felt rather unqualified for because of my inability to hear on the phone myself. I expressed this concern and was assured it was not a problem. They even got me CapTel, but the internet connection constantly failed, so it was a waste of time to even use it.

    All went well actually, but I made the mistake of applying for a job in a different department--one that I felt was better suited to my skills and one where I never, ever had to be on the phone. I got the job. However, a new co-worker (not even a boss) who trained me would scream at me for anything and everything and then use my hearing loss as an excuse. I would explain that screaming was just as bad (if not waaaaay worse) than whispering because it distorted sound and quite frankly, gave me mini heart-attacks throughout the day. The thing is, she screamed at everyone! But it became clear, after a few months, that she really saved most of her wrath for me. I was accused of making mistakes which I had not made, and I was told I wasn't learning fast enough simply because I frequently asked for clarification-something the hearing impaired just do. It was also very clique-y and small groups would huddle and talk for hours (no lie...hours...your tax dollars at work, folks). I kept myself busy at all times and was never idle, thinking that would show my boss how serious of a worker I was, but it worked against me because I couldn't participate in the gossip groups (and didn't want to even if I could hear the conversations).

    I tried to advocate for myself, and went to the boss numerous times to resolve the problems, but was just told that I needed to be patient with the screamer because "that's just the way she is." After the co-worker's relentless bullying, I finally said--enough! I'm out of here. But where has that left me? Unemployed for the last 10 months.

    I recently earned my MA (also a challenge--graduated with honors from Washington University in Saint Louis--an awesome school!). I'm hoping to find a job in a museum or historical society, or at least a place that requires creative thinking (not the government-that's for sure!). Now my problem, and what brought me to this blog, is that I have been on numerous interviews and face the same challenges you are writing about here. Mention the hearing loss? Don't mention it? If I did mention, is that why I never got past the first interview? It's been my approach to mention it only during an interview if I am having a problem hearing. Recently, I interviewed with a panel of six very soft-spoken women. I simply mentioned that I wore 2 HAs and asked them to speak up, but (and in my experience, this is common) they did nothing to speak any louder. I struggled through and basically, I blew it. Couldn't hear a damn thing they said. Got the rejection letter 2 weeks later-big surprise! But this is just one of many, many jobs I have been rejected for in the last year (I've been told I came close 2X--gee, thanks!).

    My most recent interview was last week. I did not mention the hearing loss this time, and I was extremely qualified for the job. We'll see what happens. I hope I don't sound bitter here. One thing I think the hearing impaired community has buckets of is perseverance!! My best to all of you who never give up!

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    1. Dealing with hearing people who don't understand our deafness is very frustrating. It's not just the challenge of seeking a job but also working with hearing co-workers and bosses.

      Thanks for sharing your story.

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  6. To just get a retail and staff job is so difficult even though its without a collage degree. i was turned down by two places that I applied to because they didn't want to take the time to work around my hearing loss. It makes me mad because I know I am qualified for just a standard job. I wear a cochlear implant and am oral so I can communicate with them.

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