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Speech impediments: Grounds for discrimination?

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HC Online | 14 Nov 2014, 10:12 AM Agree 0
When recruiting for a role that requires staff to talk to clients over the phone, what can HR do if an applicant suffers from a speech impediment? HC investigates...
  • Renie | 14 Nov 2014, 11:26 AM Agree 0
    I may be very politically incorrect here, but I would not employ anyone with a speech impediment to a role that requires extensive verbal communication, To do so would, in my opinion, be unfair for the employee, the employer and the customers/clients.

  • Paul | 14 Nov 2014, 06:17 PM Agree 0
    But thats just good sense Renie. But remember, most people refer to this as "common sence". And not even "common sense" is very common any more!!!
  • Rex M | 17 Nov 2014, 11:42 AM Agree 0
    Do people with a speech impediment apply for such roles? Is this whole article just supposition?

    Agree with Renie and with Paul - but I will go a step further - what about those places (e.g. government depts.) where the employee has an accent so heavy it is impossible to understand? Why are they employed on the "front line"?
  • HR Guru | 17 Nov 2014, 11:45 AM Agree 0
    Renie, the article (and indeed the legislation) makes it clear that in that example you've provided, and if you can confirm the inherent requirements of the role require the job holder to engage in extensive verbal communication you would have a good case to claim you are not discriminating.
  • Linda Pettersson | 17 Nov 2014, 12:05 PM Agree 0
    It should not be too difficult to work out whether speaking to clients is an inherent part of the job and whether the speech impediment is mild enough to not be an issue, or major enough so that assistive technologies do not sufficiently facilitate the required level of oral communication with clients.
  • Ronnie | 17 Nov 2014, 01:05 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Rex M. I find more an more people with accents I can't understand, and I feel embarrassed that I have to keep asking them to repeat what they said. I then find they get annoyed and I end the call rather than go forward with the query.
  • Rex M | 17 Nov 2014, 02:23 PM Agree 0
    Exactly Ronnie. We feel in the wrong because we can't understand them - when they shouldn't have been put in that role in the first place. Embarrassing all round.
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