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An American non-profit organisation has recently been taken to court by a deaf former employee for failing to provide her with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting for training and compulsory staff meetings. The woman, Homeyra Kazerounian, had worked for the company for three years and was provided with an interpreter when needed, until she moved to one of the organisation’s other locations. Her managers at the Rosewood facility of Placer ARC refused to provide sign language interpreting for staff meetings and training, leaving Homeyra feeling isolated and that resigning was her only option. The law suit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and regulators found that the company had violated the law in failing to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate their deaf employee.

Many companies nowadays recognise the importance of catering for the communication and accessibility needs of their staff, but unfortunately sometimes situations like the ones above still happen. In the case above, it was reported that the woman’s managers had said that interpreting was too expensive, but I think it’s safe to bet that the legal fees and bad press the company had to shoulder were much more costly!

 

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