A British woman says she was discriminated against because of her disability when she was rejected from all 1000 jobs she applied for and the peak body representing deaf people in Australia says the discrimination extends to our shores.
Kellie Wilson, 32, from north England has applied for jobs in pubs, housekeeping and dishwashing but has had no luck so far.
“I have lost out due to my deafness,” she told The Mirror. “I am being discriminated against and treated unfairly.”
The single woman who lives with her parents says she has an education but the constant rejection and ignorance towards her capability as a deaf person has caused her to doubt herself.
“My mind is sharp and I can lip read really well,” she said. “I feel as though I have to change who I am in the face of ignorance.”
Ms Wilson said she often receives strong feedback from her written CVs and is regularly offered phone interviews.
But when she explains her deafness and her need to do an interview via Skype, the prospect comes to a halt.
“Either I don’t get any response or am told they do not have the facilities to chat using my suggested methods,” she said.
She says she is frustrated by the lack of opportunity given to deaf people.
“People with disabilities are more than capable of being extraordinary if only someone would give us the opportunity,” she wrote recently.
“In interviews, if I struggle to understand what’s being said, I explain my disability.
“Then I get the reply, ‘There’s a lot of phone work in this role’ when it was not previously mentioned.
“I can do the jobs I apply for. I am asking employers to give me a chance and treat me like other people.”
Deaf Australia chief executive Kyle Miers says “discrimination is rife” this side of the pond as well, telling news.com.au he has personally experienced many rejections because of his deafness.
“It is a common occurrence,” he said. “This is mainly because of a lack of understanding and perception of what we are capable of.
“More often than not, many deaf or hard of hearing people must rationalise why they need to be chosen over others because of their ‘hearing loss’ and not the merit of the person’s capacity.”
Mr Miers said the discrimination doesn’t end once deaf people are successful in finding employment as they are also commonly refused promotions at work.
“I know of many who have remained in the same classifications for over 20 years and have virtually given up hope on promotions, let alone seek another job,” he said.
“Indirect discrimination is hard to prove and there must be something to stop this.
“What and how remains a question, especially where employer’s attitude and perception remain a significant barrier.”
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