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Would a Deaf Lifeguard be ‘Qualified’ Under the ADA?

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in Case In Point

What would you do if you were hiring a lifeguard for a community wave pool and the applicant was deaf, but he was also certified as a lifeguard? A new court ruling this month shows how mistakes made in assessing the applicant's medical condition can leave an employer drowning in litigation ...

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{ 5 commentsᑮ read them below or add one }

Trent June 18, 2014 at 11:56 pm

As a lifeguard, I can say that the majority of your job is watching people (not listening). Drowning victims don’t yell for help. They can’t control their body. They are the ones that people swim by not knowing they’re drowning. From my experience the ones yelling are the kids playing and girls asking me to show them my 8 pac abs. I usually just sit and watch. 90% of the time I am swimming out because someone swam out too far into the waves and they don’t have the ability to swim back. You don’t hear them yelling. You see them.

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Joey Niskar March 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Kathleen,

I am the attorney who represents Nick Keith in this case. Can you please e-mail me with the names and contact information of the deaf lifeguard who you know? It would be a great help to the case, and the cause.

Thank you,
Joey Niskar
E-mail: joeynlaw@aol.com

Reply

Jarlath Crowe February 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I passed my senior water safety course back in the ’70′s and was qualified to be a life guard. I wore my hearing aid, while on the job and it was simple to take my behind ear hearing aids and slip them in a plastic bag before jumping in the water…the action that took less than 5 seconds to perform.

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nancy magliocchino January 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

HI…
I UNDERSTAND HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU REALLY WANT TO BE LIFEGUARD. I KNEW WHEN I WAS TEENAGER THAT I REALLY WANTED TO BE LIFEGUARD BUT THE MANAGER WON’T HIRE ME BECAUSE I AM DEAF. FEW MY FRIENDS SAID SAME THING HAPPEN ABOUT THE JOBS DIFFERENT FIELD WON’T HIRE. MOST COMPANIES LIKE TO BE HEARING FOR HIRE PERIOD BUT NO HIRE FOR DEAF PEOPLE.
IT’S REALLY SAD TRUE FACT.

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Kathleen January 25, 2013 at 10:05 am

Huh? You gotta kidding. This is insane. I have known a lot of lifeguards who were and are Deaf. They did superb! They gained more senses in their four senses which made them more sensitive toward their surrounding environment. They know their duties, and their responsibilities.

Do tell, is there lawsuits already out there against any Deaf lifeguard? I haven’t heard one at all.

Stop making up the stories which you assume that would be. Assumption is a bad thing. Please check the facts, especially with Deaf people who are expert in Deaf issues.

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