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Lack of hearing loss accommodation in the workplace

Lack of hearing loss accommodation in the workplace

The place I work is in the middle of a move, which is very stressful, way behind schedule, and frustrating. We also have a new director. He is spending money lavishly to help turn this place into a showplace (and not taking into consideration that these are working areas where things will inevitably be spilled, etc.)

My job involves a lot of phone work, which has been becoming increasingly difficult. Before the move and before the new director came on board, the assistant director and I agreed that they’d get me a separate amplifier for my phone. I found a powerful one at a very reasonable cost. OK. So, Saturday, they were hooking up the new phones, and they were all new models. I asked the phone guy if they were HA compatible, and the director came in during the conversation. I tried the phone and though it has a volume control it’s less loud that the old ones.

Director: “Does it work with your hearing aids?”

Me: “Yes, but just barely.”

Director: “But it does work.”

Me: “Yes, but in any case, we’re getting an amplifier, it goes right here and will make it loud enough for me.”

Director: “Well, why do you need that if these work? Why spend the money?”

Me: “It will make it much better for me. It only costs $50.”

Director: “Fifty bucks is fifty bucks!”

Then he was called away, out of the building.

I’m steaming, but I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and take the view that he (a) doesn’t know that much about my job yet and (b) this move is extremely stressful. He does know me slightly and we’ve talked about my hearing before, conversationally. Obviously he’s not heard of the ADA. Right now I plan to ask him about it again on Tuesday – with witnesses – and then, if there’s still opposition, to go over his head.

But this feels awful. It’s the first time I’ve encountered anything this blatant. What would you do? Any suggestions?

(the new oak floor at work cost $70,000)