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Employers can ask job applicants whether they can perform the job’s essential functions but not whether they use a hearing aid, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in updated guidance on requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act related to individuals with hearing disabilities.
About 15% of American adults report some trouble hearing and may have ADA disabilities according to the 31-page guidance, whose official issue date is Friday.
It states that while the ADA covers employment by private employers with 15 or more workers, some state laws may apply to smaller employers.
Issues covered in the guidance include how certain pre - and post-job offer disability-related questions can violate the ADA; technologies that can provide a reasonable accommodation for a hearing disability for free or at low cost; and employer concerns about safety.
The document, “Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” updates guidance issued in 2014.