Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission fights for Deaf people

How many have experienced being needed for a job but once you get there, not feeling wanted? Homeyra Kazerounian is a Deaf woman who was hired as an instructional aide. The Sacramento Bee reports she worked in a social services agency that helps people become employed and independent. When she was transferred to a different part of her facility, they took away her interpreters and access.

We all know why such agencies hire Deaf people.

  • Deaf employee? We satisfy our quotas!
  • Deaf employee working with Deaf consumers? Save money! Less interpreters! (If they just had nonsigning hearing staff, they'd have to hire interpreters for individual sessions.)
  • Deaf employee working with Deaf consumers? Better results!

It's much cheaper for them to hire a signing Deaf person to work with Deaf consumers than to hire dozens of interpreters for individual and group sessions. Deaf consumers who work with Deaf employees tend to have much better outcomes–jobs, etc. Plus, Deaf employees tend to notice Deaf consumers and their problems more. They're less likely to reduce Deaf people's problems to just being Deaf. "Oh, you can't pay bills? Deaf people! Oh, you can't show up on time? Deaf people!" We know that Deaf people have socioeconomic problems on top of everything else. Outcomes therefore improve when you hire Deaf.

I'd like to take a moment to salute Kazerounian. She's a beautiful person who gives to others, and is now being oppressed by nothing less than hypocrisy. Glad to hear EEOC is fighting for her.

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