Q. We recently hired a deaf employee who communicates exclusively by written notes. We are finding that this process is time-consuming and harms productivity. May we require the deaf worker and his supervisor to learn sign language? Can we terminate them if they refuse?
A. With regard to the supervisor, the answer is relatively straightforward: Employers generally have the right to require employees—especially managers—to acquire the skills the employer believes are necessary to effectively perform the functions of the job.
Requiring the deaf worker to learn sign language, on the other hand, may lead to legal liability.
– Thanks to FF and Business Management Daily