The UK Equality Act 2010 says you must not discriminate against disabled people, including those who have hearing loss.
Disability discrimination is when someone is treated less well or put at a disadvantage for a reason that relates to their disability. This applies to situations that are listed in the Equality Act, as follows:
The discrimination does not have to be intentional to be unlawful.
The discrimination can be related to something that is done or that fails to be done. It might be a one-off action, or the application of a rule or policy, or the existence of a barrier that makes accessing something difficulty or impossible (this includes accessing communication).
Under the Equality Act, employers, service providers and other organisations have a responsibility to make sure that people legally defined as disabled are not placed at a substantial disadvantage because of their disability compared with non-disabled people or people who don’t share that disability.
This can include hearing aid and cochlear implant users even if they do not themselves identify as disabled.
‘Substantial disadvantage’ means more than minor or trivial.
To avoid putting someone at substantial disadvantage, organisations have a ‘duty to make reasonable adjustments’. If that reasonable adjustment is not made then discrimination can be experienced.
When it comes to people with hearing loss, examples of reasonable adjustment include: