Legal Analysts

Showing posts with label hearing disabilities in the workplace and the americans with disabilities act. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hearing disabilities in the workplace and the americans with disabilities act. Show all posts

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Lieb at Law Represents Class Action Hearing Impair Tenants in Landmark NYC Disability Discrimination Case

In a significant development in a case that underscores the ongoing challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in accessing suitable housing, Lieb at Law is representing a hearing-impaired tenant in a discrimination lawsuit against the City of New York and other entities. The case, as reported by Law360, highlights crucial issues regarding the responsibilities of property owners and the rights of tenants with disabilities.

Background of the Case

Elewood Torres, the plaintiff, filed a class-action lawsuit in 2022, challenging the failure of his Lower Manhattan apartment building's owners to provide necessary services for tenants with hearing disabilities. Despite the building at 174-184 Forsyth St. being funded to provide accessible housing, critical safety improvements have been lacking.

Key Issues at Stake

The lawsuit points to the absence of essential features such as video cameras in elevators, smoke alarms with strobe lights and bed shakers, and security staff proficient in American Sign Language. These deficiencies not only violate the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the NYS / NYC Human Rights Laws, but also pose a significant risk to the safety and well-being of the residents.

The City's Position and Plaintiff's Response

The city contends that it no longer owns the property and that the ADA does not apply to private residential complexes. However, Torres disputes this claim, highlighting that the ownership of the building reverted to the city due to breaches in the sale agreements. This aspect is crucial in determining the applicability of the ADA and the city's responsibilities.

Lieb at Law's Stance

Representing Torres, Lieb at Law's Associate Attorney, Richard Hermer-Fried, emphasized the gravity of the situation: "To this day, defendants have not provided bed rockers to wake tenants in case of a fire. It's utterly egregious that nothing's been done to protect these individuals." The firm's commitment to advocating for the rights of individuals with disabilities is evident in its vigorous pursuit of this case.

What's Next in the Case

With a preliminary injunction requested by Torres to compel the defendants to install the necessary improvements, and the court ordering documentation of such improvements, the case is poised for critical developments. Lieb at Law remains steadfast in its pursuit of justice for Elewood Torres and other similarly situated tenants.

*Attorney Advertising

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace per EEOC

At the end of January, 2023, EEOC released Hearing Disabilities in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is a terrific resource for the 15% of american adults who have some trouble hearing and want to know their rights at work. 

If you are hearing impaired, remember that the ADA is just the floor of your rights so you should always have your attorney examine whether your state or locality provides your with additional protections. To illustrate, the ADA only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, but states, like NY have no minimum employee threshold for anti-discrimination laws to apply (the New York State Human Rights Law at Executive Law 296), which has been the law of the state since February 8, 2020. 

Regardless, the EEOC's released document is a great resource because it includes a series of question-and-answers for both job applicants and employees. 

Of greatest interest, you should look at the examples of accommodations that should be provided for those with a hearing related disability. The list of examples includes:

  • Access to a video relay service or video remote interpreting service using equipment such as a videophone, computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
  • A hearing aid-compatible telephone headset, a telephone amplifier, and/or adapters for using a phone with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
  • Appropriate emergency notification systems (for example, strobe lighting on fire alarms or vibrating pagers).
  • Enabling the streaming of sound directly from a device to hearing aids or cochlear implants.
  • Utilizing accessibility features of mainstream technology (for example, using the captioning feature on virtual meeting platforms).
  • A voice carry-over telephone, captioned telephone, text telephone, or TTY.
  • Equipment used for hearing protection to block noise or to protect hearing function, including equipment that can be used with hearing aids. 
  • Assistive software or applications (for example, for automated captioning, voice recognition, videoconferencing, or sound detection).

The point is that those with a disability have a right to enjoy equal employment opportunities and if they aren't afforded such a right by their employer or prospective employer, they can sue and they should win big damages.