Lawsuit by Deaf Employee Based on Failure to Provide Sign Language Interpreter Sent to Jury

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In a recent decision involving a deaf employee’s professed need for a sign language interpreter to understand and participate in mandatory departmental meetings, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reaffirmed that pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), an appropriate “reasonable accommodation” must be effective to enable a covered employee to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment.

In the case of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. UPS Supply Chain Solutions, - F.3d -, 2010 WL 3366256 (9th Cir., August 27, 2010) ("UPS"), the Ninth Circuit held that it was for a jury to decide whether UPS's accommodations to a deaf employee were effective, and whether UPS was aware, or should have been aware, that its accommodations were not effective.

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