We wrote on March 12th about a type of hiring bias based upon “aesthetic labor” – or in this case “sounding right.” The issue revolves around “stammering” — “a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds.”
Stephen G. Largy, a disabilities employment expert in Toronto, was concerned about the slippery slope effect of a determination that stuttering is a disability:
“Wow. This is a very interesting article. What’s more interesting is where it could lead. Is a stutter or a stammer a “disability” that could result in litigation? If an employer seeks a customer service employee with “excellent communication skills,” can an applicant be denied if they have a stutter or a stammer? Could the employer face legal action to defend his/her position?
If the answer is yes, we could be setting ourselves up for widespread backlash against all persons with disabilities. Persons with Disabilities have a RIGHT to accommodation; however, they must also MEET THE REQUIREMENTS of the job and be able to perform the duties of that job if properly accommodated. Properly accommodated may not mean ‘ignore my limitation.’”