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A quarter of deaf workers have quit their job due to discrimination

Posted on from Changeboard

A worrying number of deaf workers feel discriminated against in the workplace. Are employers doing enough to create an inclusive workplace?

A report in to the experiences of deaf jobseekers and employees has found that one-in-four have quit after being discriminated against in the workplace. 

The research, carried out by TotalJobs, also revealed that 56% of respondents had suffered some form of workplace discrimination, most commonly from their colleagues (62%). 37% felt they were discriminated against in the recruitment process. 

One respondent commented: “At interviews some employers have said that I am not suitable for the job because I need to be able to use a phone when out and about. Colleagues have often left me out of conversations or asked me to do a specific job to get me out of the way rather than talking to me.” 

Of the challenges faced by deaf employees in the workplace, 34% said that a lack of awareness was the most pressing issue. 16% also felt left out by their colleagues. 

Almost half (47%) felt they did not receive support and guidance from their employers, with 25% stating there is no provision for deaf employees in the workplace. 

Paul Redfern, senior community development manager of the British Deaf Association said: “Line managers and HR directors should always investigate Access to Work provision to ensure that deaf employees are given an equal chance of doing their jobs.  Budgets should also have allocated funds for Deaf Equality training to ensure that hearing employees are empowered to communicate.

“Hearing employees should also be encouraged to learn British Sign Language or appropriate communication methods in order for them to relate to deaf employees.”

Despite the difficulties faced, 74% felt confident that they have the skills necessary to look for work. 65% of respondents also felt that due to advancements in technology, their work life was becoming easier.

Charlie Swinbourne, a deaf journalist, director and scriptwriter wrote: “Deaf awareness skills, being aware of deaf people’s communication needs, are relatively straightforward but they do take effort and consistent application. But deaf people are worth it.

“We have so much to offer employers, and I think that aspects of deafness and communicating differently can actually add to an organisation.”


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