New York Police Officers Argue Hearing Aid Discrimination

Two ex-cops from New York are arguing they are being discriminated against as they wear hearing aids and are being given forced retirement.

The former police offers Daniel Carione, 44 and Jim Phillips, 40, have each filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over their compulsory retirement from the New York Police Department.

Both men suffered hearing loss as a result of their police duties which carry the risk of exposure to high noise levels. Deputy Inspector Carione’s hearing problems stem from when he shot and killed a drunken man in 1996 who threatened him with a knife. Another officer fired several shots close to his ear.

Sergeant Phillip’s hearing impairment became affected after 2008 when he helped police control a large, noisy demonstration by whistle-blowing protesters.

Their attorney Colleen Meenan said: “They’re qualified to work and they should be permitted to work.

“I don’t think that a public policy which just broadly prohibits someone who has a hearing loss from working complies with the law, and I don’t think it’s an appropriate policy.”

A police spokesman told The New York Times that hearing aids are not compatible with police work because they were vulnerable to “mechanical failure, earwax build-up or any number of things.”

Both cops sought help for their hearing problems which the police department initially provided. For a period of time they paid for hearing aids and then in 2009 payment stopped.

The two officers argue that policepersons who need spectacles are not forced to retire and that the policy discourages other PCs to seek help for their hearing problems. The department tests the hearing of new recruits but does not routinely test officers’ hearing.

The complaint, currently being processed by the EEOC, was originally filed in November 2010.

For more news on hearing aids such as phonak ambra or resound alera click here.

Tags: , , ,