If your employer doesn’t support you to manage your hearing loss in the workplace, or doesn’t give you access to the same opportunities as others because of your hearing loss, this could be discrimination (unfair treatment) under the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act in Northern Ireland).
There are a number of steps you can take to try to resolve the issue:
1. Talk to your employer informally – it’s best to try to sort out your problem informally first, so discuss the issue with your manager, or your HR department if you don’t wish to speak to your manager. Ask for information about your employer’s policy on supporting employees with disabilities and raise your concerns.
2. Request a mediation meeting – this is where a neutral third party helps both sides to resolve the issue. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) (opens in new window) has information about mediation on its website.
3. Make a formal complaint using your internal complaints or grievance system.
If you follow these steps and still aren’t happy with the outcome, you could consider taking your case to an employment tribunal. But this is likely to be a long, expensive, and stressful process, and we recommend you get advice from an organisation specialising in disability or employment law before going down this route.
Which organisations can help me if I have a problem with my employer?
A range of organisations can provide information and support if you have any trouble with your employer as a result of your hearing loss.
A website run by the charity Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education. It provides information on rights and the law, including how to recognise discrimination and take steps to end it.
www.advicenow.org.uk (opens in new window)
The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice. You can search for your local bureau online.
England and Wales: www.citizensadvice.org.uk (opens in new window)
Scotland: www.cas.org.uk (opens in new window)
Northern Ireland: www.citizensadvice.co.uk (opens in new window)
You may also find the Citizens Advice online advice guide helpful.
Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
The EHRC protects human rights, promotes equality and challenges discrimination. It publishes a wide range of practical guidance and advice on its website.
www.equalityhumanrights.com (opens in new window)
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)
ACAS provides information, advice, training and other services for employers and employees to help prevent or resolve workplace problems.
www.acas.org.uk (opens in new window)
Labour Relations Agency (in Northern Ireland)
An independent agency that provides advice on good employment practices and services to help resolve employment disputes.
www.lra.org.uk (opens in new window)