Deaf Rights means equal access to information. It is the right to independence, the same as a wheelchair has right to have a ramp to enter a building, Deaf have a right to information in public building or workplace via text, captions, teleprompters. Most already have flashing lights on fire alarms, but we can do better.
I learned about noise sensitivity recruitment related to deafness and how it causes pain in the ears. Why some sounds frequencies are louder and all words rhyme and sound mumbly. I thought I had tinnitus but I think it is actually recruitment because I don’t seek to mask the ringing with more sound, but rather seek to avoid sound that causes the ringing. I get vertigo sometimes. When I was three I had inner ear fluid infection possibly from Meniere’s Disease or Labyrinthitis, had tubes put in to drain the fluid. Nobody knows if my deafness is congenital, but I suspect is it. I was just at a Jonsson wedding and I found out it runs in the family.
I now have a vocabulary to describe the problem that I’ve been having that was related to the discrimination of my disability at former employer. I asked for quieter work environment twice, I asked for Leave of Absence, my ears hurt but they denied my requests for reasonable accommodation for my disability. Instead they put me on probation for communication failure then terminated my employment when I ran out of sick days. They accused me of lying and said to me ‘You should just use discretionary time, for days you want off because it’s a nice day outside.’
They denied my request for visual L.E.D. text scroller ticker to accommodate in conjunction with public speaker announcements. I didn’t hear my name being called over the P.A., which got me in trouble, which led to me trying to tell coworker I didn’t hear my name -the communication failure was that I was speaking in a manner that customers could hear me. But how could I know that customers could hear my voice when I can’t hear theirs? Here is a link about “voice accidentally too loud.” I got in trouble for not using phone properly when calling in sick and they don’t allow text or email. I got in trouble for not answering the phone, that I didn’t hear. She lied about that. My phone record showed no missed calls.
So as far as my communication failure, in regards to using phone properly, I was supposed to speak to a specific person. But I don’t use phone as preferred method but when I have to I will call and say my message then hope I dont have to hear anything. I’ll probably misunderstand so I didnt want to be transferred and have to have a dialogue with someone else too. Its like making someone in a wheelchair go up that one extra step as punishment. Making me communicate on phone to more people, having to listen harder.
The essence of the discrimination is from the fact that they did not accommodate my needs for visual information, quieter work environment, or time off- even with specific requests and doctors notes. At the end of the day I failed probation and it was discrimination.
One time my boss sat me down for my first review and told me co-workers don’t think I’m doing my job. I explained it is because I am Deaf. I am always responsible to advocate for myself with pre-emptive FYI’s about my ears. Sometimes they don’t get it, or I fail to tell them directly (how often and specifically am I supposed to do that?), or they forget (because it is an “invisible disability”), but the axe always falls on me.
I am protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). I am Deaf. I deserve to receive compensation from this complaint I filed with Civil Rights Department of City Madison. Disability Discrimination is a real thing and it needs to be treated seriously. Without protections in place, to give leverage for enforcement through litigation, employers are not and will not be held accountable unless employees file Disability Discrimination Complaints. Unless we utilize ADA protections, future Deaf will continue to suffer the effects of Audism, albeit dysconscious, but ignorance is not an excuse.
“Sabino v. Ohio State University: Mr. Stein represented a deaf sports fan who could not understand the aural information projected over the public address system at Ohio State University’s home football and basketball games. The parties entered into a consent decree calling for Ohio State University to provide captioning at sports events.”
1. I made reasonable request for accommodation and was denied (text for P.A.).
2. I made request for L.O.A. (I was 1 month short of F.M.L.A.) and was denied. I needed to rest my ears. I had two doctors notes on the matter. It was later determined I had hyperacusis, tinnitus, ear aches, hair cell fatigue, cochlear dead zones, on top of congenital bi-sensorineural hearing loss. (I just got new hearing aids since then, which may it be noted, I did not have hearing aids while working at former employer. So obviously, they kept forgetting about my day-to-day reality of being Deaf/Hard of Hearing because they didn’t have a visual reminder like a wheelchair.)
3. When I filed complaint of disability discrimination to City of Madison Department of Civil Rights, they found No Probable Cause. The former employer hired a corrupt attorney who filled the response with lies, distractions, and non-issues to skirt around the real issue. I contacted over two dozen attorneys, but nobody would represent me. I did not file an appeal.
4. They denied my unemployment insurance benefit.
5. They cut my Cobra insurance short of the mandatory 18 months, which cost me hours and hours of time to rectify, even having to bring in a lawyer to make them comply to law.
6. I got a letter saying I had 90 Day Right To Sue at Federal court. So I explored my options, and determined not to keep fighting. At this point I feel my energy and resources are better allocated to writing. I did what I could, but I am moving on with my life. Perhaps in the future, we will have more lawyers to fight for the Deaf.
Update (7.17.14) I googled “Noise Induced Vertigo” and learned about Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome (SCDS), Tullio Phenomenon, conductive hyperacusis, and Hennebert’s Sign that help explain the conditions (noise and vibrations causing me ear pain) I was having towards the end of my employment. But instead of my employer working with me to determine the problem, they assumed I was lying and fired me. I have spent over 2 years now, since employment was terminated, researching the issue I am having. I finally feel equipped to present a case, only to find out statute of limitations has expired so I have no recourse for justice for being fired for my disability. I am upset the doctors and lawyers did not help me.
here is another article about hyperacusis and how the workplace caused it. this is a more in depth article here. Maybe I have misophonia.