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When Kamal Nasser interviewed for an AT&T warehouse associate job in Hilliard, Ohio, his interpreter came along.Nasser is completely deaf and uses
American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.
"I really didn't know what to expect going into an interview with someone [who's] deaf," said Jason McGonigle, then-manager of AT&T's DirecTV warehouse, in a company video.
"By the end of the interview, I felt I didn't even need the interpreter," he said, noting that the interpreter sat behind McGonigle to ensure that McGonigle maintained eye contact with Nasser. "I could tell, based off his mannerisms and facial expressions, what he was trying to say."
McGonigle left the interview convinced Nasser was the best person for the job. His boss, who also met with Nasser, concurred.Nasser is one of more than 28 million Americans who are deaf or who have a hearing impairment, according to the
Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a free service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy.
some employers think people with hearing impairments will create safety hazards for themselves or others, will increase employment costs, or will have difficulty communicating in fast-paced environments, they can be effective and safe workers—with or without reasonable accommodations—the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission notes on its website.
McGonigle acknowledged that, prior to interviewing Nasser, safety was his biggest concern in an environment that had heavy equipment such as forklifts. However, the Hilliard facility—like most warehouses, he said—already took precautions such as using flashing lights on forklifts and providing employees with safety vests that make them highly visible. Nasser did not request any accommodations before or after he was hired, such as a portable assistive listening system, but McGonigle had a flashing light installed to signal arrivals at the warehouse door for Nasser's benefit.In March 2016, Nasser became a part of McGonigle's three-member team, which restocks the warehouse and processes equipment orders for the technicians who install DirecTV in homes throughout Ohio.
Making It Work
An Important Skill
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