"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Have You Ever Been Fired Because You Couldn't Hear?

I was asked a question like this when I went in for a hearing evaluation this week.

When I was in my late teens, I took the first job I could find. I was hired on as a gas station attendant. In Oregon, you are not allowed to pump your own gas, only the attendants do that. I mention this because in many states, the stations are self service.

It was only my second or third day on the job when a man drove up in a fancy white low rider with tinted windows and told me to "Fill it up". I repeated what was said to me to make sure I had the right information. I set the pump handle onto the tank and clicked the lever open to auto fill while I went and served the next customer. After tending to them, I went back to check on the tank with the man who wanted the fill up. My boss was waiting on him, glowered at me and waved me off to help someone else at another pump.

Once things slowed down at the station, my boss came over and fired me. He said that the customer had asked for only five dollars worth of gas. I tried to explain the conversation I had with the customer, but he just didn't want to hear about it.

Have you ever lost a job because you either couldn't hear or something or misunderstood something that was said? I wonder how often this has happens to hard of hearing and deaf people.


  1. Had that done 4 times and made redundant 6 times. Deaf here are targeted FIRST when any job losses are in the pipeline, regardless of company value, or our qualifications it seems. Mostly many deaf do NOT get fired, mainly because there are few who will employ them anyway. If we state deaf on a CV you just get a 'Dear John' responses... British employers are the biggest discriminators in the western world. Soon our Government will back it as legal too, by rejecting the human rights element in employment law from Europe.

  2. Thank you for sharing this, MM. What is a CV?
    The Dr. I saw the other day called an agency we have here in the U.S. that helps people get things like hearing aids, but in order to help, they wanted to know the last time I "worked". It's been almost 30 years. I was turned down because I've not been in the "workforce" but to be in the workforce, I have to be able to function, and you just explained that merry go round for us in your comment.

  3. I have not been fired but anytime there is a budget crunch, I am the first to be laid off - because the company needs to load more responsibilities on the workers and one of the responsibilities is answering the phones and greeting visitors. The did not want to bother to make accommodations. It was more easier to give me the boot. Grrrrrr.

    1. It seems accommodations are such a simple solution. Why can't employers see accommodations as an "invesment" in their employees and clients instead of "expense"? I'm sorry this happened to you. I hope things are going better for you now.