USPS Apologizes To Deaf Woman After She Says Worker Refused To Communicate With Her By Writing

Her friend posted this letter, said to be written by a USPS worker. (Facebook)

Her friend posted this letter, said to be written by a USPS worker. (Facebook)

The United States Postal Service is apologizing to a deaf woman in Florida after she said workers at her local post office refused to accommodate her by providing service through writing, instead allegedly mocking her and making her feel humiliated.

The woman — who is deaf but can speak, as she became deaf as a young adult — told WKMG News that she had asked a clerk to help her mail some packages, and had requested she respond to her questions via writing.

“She became agitated when I informed her I am deaf and need her to write down the answer to my question,” said the woman.

She says that although she explained numerous times to the worker that she’s deaf and couldn’t hear her responses, by pointing to a piece of paper, instead the worker allegedly mocked her by pointing at the paper and speaking out loud again.

“I asked for a supervisor. She became angry and pointed that I had to go away from her section of the counter,” she told the station.

When she confronted a supervisor about the denial of service and the poor training of the staff, she says another worker handed her a note reading, “Call your congressman who do not have to write down for you. It’s not the law!! Get an interpreter.”

She says she was then asked to leave, as the final piece in an experience she called “humiliating and degrading.”

“Honestly, I cried in the car. People like that make you feel like garbage,” she told the news station.

In fact, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it’s not up to the deaf person to provide the means of communication, Lynn Sinnott, executive director of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services pointed out to WKMG.

“She was asking for a very reasonable accommodation which was to write back and forth,” she said. “It’s actually inappropriate to ask a deaf person to provide an interpreter. They are not, according to the ADA, required to provide the interpreter. It is those individuals that they are doing business with. It is their responsibility to provide the accommodations.”

In response to the backlash online and in the media, a representative from the USPS issued a statement including an apology:

“The Postal Service extends its sincere apologies to our customer for this incident.
The Postal Service does not condone the type of exchange that occurred here. Rather, the Postal Service’s expectation is that all customers will be treated with dignity and respect and receive courteous and helpful service from our employees. This expectation includes the provision of prompt and courteous service by postal employees to customers who may have language barriers, hearing impairments, visual impairments or other physical or mental impairments. Postal Service management has investigated and remediated the situation.”

Deaf woman says Port Orange post office discriminated against her [WKMG]