Deaf employee may be entitled to interpreter

An employer may be obligated to provide a deaf worker with a sign language interpreter at staff meetings, disciplinary hearings and training sessions, according to a California federal appeals court. The worker was employed by UPS as an accounting clerk. He sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming that an interpreter was a “reasonable accommodation” for his disability.

UPS argued that it had fulfilled its legal obligations by providing the worker with meeting agendas, notes and summaries. But the court said that it was up to a jury to decide whether the written information gave the employee the same benefits that other employees received from attending and participating in weekly staff meetings.