For equal workplaces, we need to be allies to the deaf community

This week has been Deaf Awareness Week, an opportunity to raise awareness and challenge perceptions of hearing loss and deafness, promoting the positive aspects of living with deafness and highlight how we can be better allies to deaf and hard of hearing people.  

12 million people in the U.K., like me, are living with some form of hearing loss. That’s 1 in 5 of the U.K. population. At least 24,000 people in the U.K. use British Sign Language (BSL) as their main language. 

 The theme of Deaf Awareness Week this year is “coming through it together”, a particularly resonant one after the last twelve months.  

Deaf workers across the country continue to face barriers in the workplace, and after a year of face coverings and social distancing, the challenges are increasing for deaf people and those with hearing loss. 

It is our mission as a trade union to ensure that our members who are deaf or hearing impaired are supported properly so that they can focus on their careers and their lives. 

The Equality Act 2010 means that employers have a legal obligation to provide reasonable adjustments, taking positive steps to remove the barriers individuals face due to disabilities. 

It also prevents discrimination, both direct and indirect, against individuals due to disabilities. 

There are plenty of ways you can support deaf or hard of hearing people in everyday life. Face the person while you are speaking, don’t turn away, repeat yourself if necessary, don’t lose your patience and never say ‘It doesn’t matter’. But we must go much further than that. 

The last year has showed us that as a society we are more than capable to undertaking rapid transformations to our working world in very short space of time. We must ensure that all workplaces are set up to support people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and that accessibility is at the core of every workplace. 

We encourage all of the workplaces we work with to be fully accessible to deaf or hard of hearing people, and to encourage all of our members to do whatever they can to create an inclusive society. Our member service centre is also on hand to support you if you’ve been discriminated against at work. 

Community is proud of our ongoing commitment to creating equal workplaces, and to challenging discrimination wherever it may be. 

To learn a phrase of sign language a day, click here. 

For facts and resources, click here. 

To join in our equalities work, contact 

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