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Employment (Title I) 4

Question: 

We have an employee who uses hearing aids and has difficulty hearing people through face masks because she lipreads as well. We are considering getting her work colleagues see through face masks, or offering her our portable assistive listening device or, I suppose they could call her and use the phone. Are we obligated to require all employee who interact with her to use see through face masks?

Answer: 

Employers have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with sensory disabilities, including employees with disabilities who are deaf or hard of hearing. The employer should discuss possible accommodations with the employee in order to determine which accommodations would be effective. An employer can require employees to wear clear face covering especially if the staff is highly interactive due to the nature of the business. Requiring employees to wear clear facemask not only allows the employee to do their job but also allows customers with disabilities to participate in programs and activities. Whether other auxiliary aids/services would work depends on the communication needs of the employee and their interaction with other people.

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