Addressing Discrimination Against People with Disabilities in the Workplace


Law Center Helps Deaf Employee Return to Work

Our client successfully worked as a custodian for nearly ten years at the same company before he lost his job.

Like many deaf individuals, our client’s primary language is American Sign Language (ASL), meaning he does not read or write English fluently. Our client repeatedly requested an ASL interpreter to understand what was communicated in his workplace, but his requests were denied. After being denied an ASL interpreter, our client filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2011. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee with a disability, including ASL interpreters and other communications aids and services.

Our client’s case languished at the EEOC without investigation for four years until he found the Public Interest Law Center. The Law Center’s Independence Fellow, Julie Foster, investigated our client’s claims and spent more than a year negotiating with his former employer to get him back to work and resolve his claims of discrimination. Most important was ensuring the client had the accommodations he needed to do his job.

It is crucial we continue to help others like our client receive the respect they deserve and put an end to discrimination in the workplace. All people deserve to live a meaningful, fulfilled life and not be illegally denied the opportunity to work.