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Employer's Guide to Minnesota Relay


Welcome to the Minnesota Relay Business Partner program. This guide is designed for employers: it includes an overview of Minnesota Relay, instructions on how to place and receive Minnesota Relay calls and information to help you become comfortable with relay calls. We also have an Employee's Guide, which you can duplicate and distribute to new and existing employees as part of your employee training program. The Employee's Guide provides your employees with an overview of what Minnesota Relay is and how to use it to serve customers who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled.

Background Information

Minnesota Relay makes your business accessible to people with hearing loss or a speech disability. Relay also provides an opportunity for you to re-establish contact with customers who have stopped using the telephone due to progressive hearing loss. Either you or your customer may initiate a relay call. Receiving a relay call is as simple as answering your telephone. More details here.

Call Confidentiality

All Minnesota Relay CAs abide by a strict code of ethics. A federal requirement mandates that all relay calls are kept confidential and information cannot be used by the CA for personal gain. CAs must remain impartial and no record of calls is kept.

Place and Receive Minnesota Relay Calls

View this section for details on how to place and receive Minnesota Relay calls.

Forms Of Relay Services Available To Meet Specific Needs

Many people think Minnesota Relay is a telephone service that connects a TTY user (deaf person) with a standard phone user (hearing person). This is only partially true. There are a variety of reasons a person cannot use a standard telephone. Minnesota Relay has many forms of services available to make telecommunications available to all, regardless of their communication needs. Minnesota Relay allows your business to have contact with ALL consumers in Minnesota.

Traditional Relay:
This service allows telephone calls between a TTY (text-telephone) user and a hearing person (standard phone user). A Minnesota Relay communication assistant (CA) reads the TTY user's words to you, and types your words for the TTY user to read.

Hearing Carry Over (HCO):
HCO allows a person who can hear but who has very limited or no speech capability to make and receive phone calls. Using HCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, an HCO user can listen directly to your voice and type his/her response to the CA, who voices the response to you.

Voice Carry Over (VCO):
VCO is an option for people who can speak clearly, but have hearing loss significant enough to prevent them from hearing and understanding conversations over the telephone. Using VCO relay and a specially designed telephone with a text display, a VCO user speaks directly to you. The CA types what is spoken by you for the VCO user to read.

Speech-to-Speech (STS):
STS allows a person who has difficulty speaking or being understood on the telephone to communicate using his or her own voice or voice synthesizer. The CA revoices the words of the person with a speech disability so that you can understand him or her. The STS user will hear your responses. More details on STS relay.

Control of the Call

When placing or receiving a relay call, if you are not satisfied with the CA for any reason, you may ask for another CA. You also may ask to speak to a supervisor. You do not have to offer any explanation for the request. Whenever placing or receiving a relay call, it is helpful to write down the date and time of the call, and the CA's identification number. The CA handling the call should give you his/her identification number at the beginning and end of each call. In order to maintain confidentiality and transparency, the CA is not allowed to give you his/her name. By recording the CA's identification number, you will be able to provide us with valuable feedback if necessary.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange) Systems and 7-1-1

You may not be able to dial 7-1-1 to make a relay call if your business has a PBX system. If you encounter this difficulty, contact the telecommunications manager or PBX coordinator from your building and ask them to re-program the PBX switch software to allow 7-1-1 access.

Long Distance Charges

The long distance carrier you have chosen for your business service is NOT automatically applied to Minnesota Relay calls. To make sure your long distance calls are carried and billed through your existing long distance service or calling plan, it is recommended that you submit a Minnesota Relay Customer Preference form. You also may inform the CA of your preferred carrier of choice prior to placing a long distance relay call. If no carrier is indicated, long distance Minnesota Relay calls will be carried and billed by Sprint.

Customer Preference Form

By completing and submitting a Minnesota Relay Customer Preference form, the relay is able to ensure that your preferred carrier is used for all long distance relay calls. Call 1-800-657-3775 to request a Customer Preference form, or download the form at www.mnrelay.org.

Phone Fraud

View our publication called Protect Yourself From Phone Fraud.

More Information

The Minnesota Relay Consumer Relations Office is available to provide additional training presentations, free of charge, for businesses and their employees. You may also contact them if you have any questions or would like additional information. Call at 1-800-657-3775 or e-mail:mn.relay@state.mn.us Minnesota Relay Business Partner information and materials are available at:www.mnrelay.org.