Nationwide Class of Deaf Civilian Employees and Applicants in Case Against USAF

The Class Consists of Over 700 Deaf Civilian Employees and Applicants

Author: Disability Rights Advocates
Published: 2023/04/10 - Updated: 2023/09/21
Publication Type: Announcement / Notification
Contents: Summary - Main - Related Publications

Synopsis: EEOC affirms decision certifying nationwide class of deaf civilian employees and applicants in case against the United States Air Force. The class consists of over 700 Deaf civilian employees and applicants nationwide at each Air Force military base, who have experienced similar discrimination at base after base. Sean Betouliere of Disability Rights Advocates and Wendy Musell of the Law Offices of Wendy Musell, counsel for the class, applaud the EEOC's decision.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART)

CART is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer and real-time software. The text produced by the CART service can be displayed on a computer monitor, projected onto a screen, combined with a video presentation to appear as captions, or otherwise made available using other transmission and display systems. CART is widely used by Deaf people who are not fluent in American Sign Language.

Main Digest

Since 2020, Disability Rights Advocates and the Law Offices of Wendy Musell have represented a group of Deaf civilian employees, applicants, and former employees in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case against the United States Air Force - which, despite its $190 billion annual budget, has consistently failed to provide Deaf employees and applicants with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, videophones, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) services, and other basic accommodations.

The EEOC appeals court, the Office of Federal Operations, has affirmed the October 13, 2022, EEOC decision certifying a nationwide class of Deaf civilian employees and applicants, appointing our five clients as "class agents," and appointing Disability Rights Advocates and the Law Offices of Wendy Musell as class counsel.

The class consists of over 700 Deaf civilian employees and applicants nationwide at each Air Force military base, who have experienced similar discrimination at base after base.

Sean Betouliere of Disability Rights Advocates and Wendy Musell of the Law Offices of Wendy Musell, counsel for the class, applaud the EEOC's decision.

"Our clients and the other Deaf civilians they represent are hard-working and incredibly capable people, and all they have asked for are the basic accommodations they need to do their jobs. Employers with far fewer resources than the Air Force regularly provide such accommodations, but the Air Force's process for accommodating Deaf applicants and employees is profoundly broken. The EEOC correctly recognized that these systemic problems require a systemic fix, and we are looking forward to continuing to fight for that necessary change."

Class Agent Sarah Weimer, who served as the labor and employment attorney at Nellis Air Force base for several years, sees this class certification decision as a major step toward her goal of ending discrimination against the Air Force's deaf and hard of hearing applicants and employees.

"One of my main roles while at Nellis AFB was to advise the Air Force on its legal obligation to accommodate employees with disabilities, and at the same time I was being denied the basic accommodations I needed to do my own job. The Air Force repeatedly failed to provide me with ASL interpreters or CART services, and I went almost a year without a working videophone, meaning that I could not even make or receive phone calls. Two other deaf employees at my base went over five years without videophones despite repeated requests. Many other deaf and hard of hearing employees and applicants across the Air Force have had similar experiences. The other class agents and I brought this case to ensure that the Air Force promptly and efficiently provides all of us with the commonsense accommodations we need - just as federal law requires it to do."

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication titled "Nationwide Class of Deaf Civilian Employees and Applicants in Case Against USAF" was chosen for publishing by Disabled World's editors due to its relevance to our readers in the disability community. While the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity, it was originally authored by Disability Rights Advocates and published 2023/04/10 (Edit Update: 2023/09/21). For further details or clarifications, you can contact Disability Rights Advocates directly at dralegal.org. Please note that Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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Cite This Page (APA): Disability Rights Advocates. (2023, April 10). Nationwide Class of Deaf Civilian Employees and Applicants in Case Against USAF. Disabled World. Retrieved April 21, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/legal/usaf-deaf.php

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