The Deaf community is entitled, under law, to reasonable accommodations that result in effective communication. It is always important, if desired, to request an American Sign Language interpreter. A recent case involving FedEx highlights the right of Deaf workers to an interpreter.
A California jury recently awarded a deaf former FedEx employee, who was a package handler, $2 million in his lawsuit claiming that FedEx refused to provide him with sign language services which caused him to miss out on safety information and other meetings. The jury made an award of back pay and damages.
The employee claimed that he had received awards for his work, although he was not considered for promotional opportunities. Instead, the worker alleged that such opportunities were offered to non-deaf employees with less experience. Further, requests for interpreters were routinely denied. FedEx sporadically provided video remote interpreting (“VRI”), but not consistently when requested by the Deaf worker.
The employee alleged that FedEx’s treatment caused him to suffer both anxiety and stress, forcing him to leave his work.
It is important to expressly request ASL interpreters when a Deaf worker desires an interpreter to have access to effective communication.
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