HLAA Meets with EEOC Staff

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HLAA Meets with EEOC Staff

Mon, 05/03/2010

On April 20, 2010, I blogged about the US Marshal Service’s decision to allow for testing of hearing loss with hearing aids on. That was terrific! We are pleased that our work contributed to the US Marshal Service revisiting this issue.

But we cannot stop there. We have heard from consumers that there are other employers who do not understand that if there is a need for a hearing test, that test should be done with hearing aids or the cochlear implant on.

HLAA met with senior attorneys at the EEOC to explore ways to let employers know about best practices for testing for hearing loss. The meeting was positive and the staff clearly had a good handle on the issues we brought before them. However, they made it clear that there was still work to be done to complete the writing of the regulations for the new ADA Amendments Act of 2008. (HLAA submitted comments to the EEOC with NAD and AG Bell in November, 2009). They also noted that it would be some time before the new rules would be available: just this month the Commission has resumed a full complement of Commissioners. The Commission has not met since July 15, 2009, because they did not have a quorum. The good news is that new Commissioners have finally been worn in. According to the EEOC news release of April 7, 2010:

"Chai Feldblum, a former Georgetown University law professor, was sworn in today as a Commissioner of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Jacqueline A. Berrien, who became Chair of the EEOC earlier that morning, administered the oath of office ...

Feldblum and Berrien join Commissioners Stuart J. Ishimaru and Constance S. Barker. With the addition of nominee Victoria Lipnic, who was also given a recess appointment and will be sworn in later in April, the EEOC returns to its full complement of five Commissioners. General Counsel nominee P. David Lopez, who was given a recess appointment, will be sworn in to his post tomorrow." EEOC press release [Read more]

HLAA congratulates the new Commissioners and looks forward to working with the EEOC staff. We see this as the first of several meetings on issues impacting the ability of people who are hard of hearing or deaf to find, land, and maintain a job in this very competitive economy.