Employers new to working with people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing may wonder what their obligations are when it comes to providing access, and what resources are available.
The Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division is here to help! We have compiled a list of laws governing access in the workplace and resources to help employers and businesses provide accessibility. Employers often find that hiring people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing leads to innovation and inclusion that benefits everyone.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
The ADA Amendment Act (ADAAA) focuses on discrimination and how disability is defined.
Title I: Employment Employers with 15 or more employees may not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities. Employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified applicants or employees with disabilities, unless it causes an undue hardship. For more information about Title I, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at 1-800-669-4000 (voice) or 1-800-669-6820 (TTY).
Title II: State and local governments Public entities may not discriminate against people with disabilities. Individuals with disabilities must not be excluded from participation in or be denied services, programs or activities of a public entity. www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada/reg2.html
Title III: Public accommodations Public accommodations may not discriminate against people with disabilities. Some examples of public accommodations include:
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 This Title V section requires federal contractors and subcontractors with government contracts in excess of $10,000 to take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 This Title V section provides that qualified individuals with disabilities shall not be excluded from, be denied access to or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance.
U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy resources for employers
The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination due to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability and age in connection with employment, housing, public accommodations, public services and education.
Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a resource provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. It offers free, expert and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues.
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) offers employment resources to assist businesses in hiring people with disabilities. Businesses can also connect to vocational rehabilitation specialists to recruit deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing employees through DEED's CareerForce platform.
The National Association of the Deaf National Employment Resource Center has a helpful webpage on What Employers Should Know about hiring and working with people who are deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing. Another webpage, Employment Laws and Regulations has an easy-to-understand explanation of which laws apply and examples of reasonable accommodations.