Founding attorney Rusty Bianca has spent his entire life around the Deaf community and is an active, never-ending student of ASL. Growing up with an older sister who is deaf, he witnessed firsthand the challenges that this community is confronted with on a daily basis. As an attorney, he has now dedicated an area of his legal practice to protecting the rights of deaf people and ensuring that they have equal access to housing, social programs, travel, technology, and more.
As a law firm that specializes in Deaf rights advocacy, our work in South Louisiana is well-known. We truly believe that our results speak for themselves. Please contact our law office at your earliest convenience to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Baton Rouge Deaf rights lawyer.
We Meet the Needs of the Deaf Community
Although other law firms may be willing to take your personal injury or discrimination claim, they will not be equipped to offer the same services for the Deaf that we provide.
Bianca | Matkins is one of the very few Deaf-friendly law firms in South Louisiana.
So what sets us apart? As a champion of equal rights, you will find the following when you choose to work with our team:
- Attorneys who communicate with Deaf clients through ASL.
- An ASL interpreter as needed. We ensure there is never any misunderstanding or miscommunication regarding important legal matters.
- Fully accessible technology, including videophones, that allow the Deaf community easy access to the full breadth of our legal services.
Legal Matters We Handle
We are more than just Deaf rights advocates. We have the knowledge, background, and tenacity to handle both discrimination lawsuits as well as legal claims relating to serious personal injury and financial loss. This includes claims for, but not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Work injuries
- Nursing home neglect and abuse
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
Whether you are challenging a discriminatory policy in your workplace or seeking compensation for car accident injuries, you can be confident in your choice to work with Bianca | Matkins. Our Deaf rights attorneys will be your tireless guide through the legal system as we fight for justice on your behalf.
Know Your Rights
Every Louisiana Deaf rights lawyer at our law firm is knowledgeable in both federal and state protections afforded to the Deaf community, including those who are hard of hearing.
We believe that knowledge is power.
We want every client we work with to not just know their rights but to feel empowered to exercise them at work, in health care settings, and wherever else equal access is needed. Let’s take a closer look at some of these legal protections.
Federal Protections for the Deaf Community
Multiple federal laws protect the rights of the Deaf community, including:
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Title I of the ADA prohibits private employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against people with disabilities.
- Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to provide equal access for people with disabilities to their programs, services, and activities that they offer to the public.
- Title III of the ADA requires places of public accommodation to provide access for people with disabilities to all that their businesses have to offer. A public accommodation may be a restaurant, movie theater, doctor’s office, pharmacy, amusement park, or other private business that opens its doors to the public.
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Rehabilitation Act (RA) prohibits federal agencies and programs that receive federal financial assistance from excluding a disabled person from participating in the program. Benefits provided by such programs cannot be denied to a person with a disability, either.
- Affordable Care Act
- Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits healthcare providers who receive federal financial assistance from excluding disabled persons from participating in covered activities or health programs.
State Protections for the Deaf Community
The state of Louisiana also creates and maintains vital protections for the Deaf and hard of hearing community, including:
- Louisiana Commission on Human Rights
- Louisiana RS 51:2231 prohibits public accommodations from denying disabled persons the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations.
Your rights as a deaf person are clearly protected by both state and federal statutes. Should these rights be denied by an act of discrimination, a Deaf rights attorney from Bianca | Matkins will advocate on your behalf.
What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Workers Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing?
The Americans with Disabilities Act is clear—deaf workers must be provided with modifications or adjustments that allow them access to equal employment opportunities. These modifications or adjustments are more widely known as reasonable accommodations and must be provided both during employment as well as during the application and interview process.
Examples of reasonable accommodations that deaf workers may be entitled to include:
- Text phones, video phones, and video relay services
- Emergency notifications with a visual component
- Written memos of all company communications
- ASL interpreters
- Assistive computer technology (including voice recognition)
- Assistive listening devices (ALDs)
- Communication access real-time translation (CART) services
- Workspace adjustments
- Adjustment or removal of non-essential job functions
What Is an Undue Hardship?
Under the ADA, an undue hardship in regard to a reasonable accommodation is any “action requiring significant difficulty or expense.” The concept of undue hardship allows an employer to refuse a workers’ request for a reasonable accommodation by citing the expense or trouble it would create for them.
While there are a small number of legitimate reasons to claim an undue hardship, it is our experience as Baton Rouge deaf rights lawyers that this is often not the case. Time and time again, we have encountered employers who could reasonably provide needed accommodations to their deaf workers but who choose not to.
Any denial of a reasonable accommodation without a legitimate undue hardship is a direct violation of your civil rights.
The Deaf and hard of hearing community is protected by federal and state laws for a reason. You have every right to access the same employment opportunities as afforded to others in our country, and as your deaf rights attorneys, we will be a powerful ally on your journey to hold discriminatory employers and institutions responsible for the harm they have caused.
To learn more about your legal rights and options, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with our law office. A Deaf rights lawyer will meet with you in a confidential setting to review your case.
How To Report Discrimination Against the Deaf Community
You are entitled to certain rights and accommodations, as outlined in both federal and state laws. Should a business, employer, health care facility, or other establishment discriminate against you by refusing to afford you these rights or accommodations, you are within your rights to make a complaint to the appropriate authorities.
If you are unsure how to file a complaint for discrimination against the Deaf community, you may either refer to the following instructions or contact our office to speak directly with a Deaf rights lawyer.
How To Report Discrimination in the Workplace
In Louisiana, deaf workers may report workplace discrimination to the Louisiana Commission on Human Rights (LCHR). You may submit your complaint:
- Online at the Office of the Governor’s website
- In-person by printing off and filling out a physical intake questionnaire
How To Report Discrimination in Health Care
If a doctor, nurse, surgeon, anesthesiologist, pharmacist, or other health care professional engages in discriminatory behavior, you are entitled to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. The type of complaint you file will depend on the facility where you were discriminated against.
If you were discriminated against at a health care facility run by a state or local government service (such as a public hospital), you will need to file an ADA II complaint.
If you were discriminated against by a privately operated facility (such as a doctor’s office), you will need to file an ADA III complaint.
Instructions for filing either complaint can be found on the U.S. Department of Justice and Civil Rights Division’s website.
How To Report Discrimination at a Public Accommodation
The LCHR also handles complaints regarding discrimination that occurs in public accommodations, including but not limited to retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and more. Complaints may be made either online or in-person with a physical copy of the public accommodation discrimination intake form.
How To Report Discrimination in Banking and Lending Practices
Banking and lending discrimination against the Deaf community should be reported to the LCHR, either via their online form or by filling out a physical copy of the complaint form.
Speak With a Baton Rouge Deaf Rights Lawyer
Filing a report is not the final step in this process. To ensure that your legal rights are protected and upheld and that the Deaf community of Southern Louisiana continues to enjoy equal access to services and facilities, we urge you to meet with a Baton Rouge Deaf rights lawyer.
As one of the few law offices in Louisiana that was built on the premise of providing services in ASL to Deaf residents, we are uniquely positioned to handle even the most complex discrimination or injury case. When you choose to work with Bianca | Matkins, you can expect that we will:
- Investigate your claim with a high degree of accuracy.
- Contact witnesses and record their statements.
- Work with experts in fields related to your claim, including medical experts, accident reconstructionists, and Deaf rights advocates.
- Accurately value the worth of your past, current, and future losses.
The actions taken by our Deaf rights lawyer are made not just with our clients in mind but also with consideration for the safety and well-being of the entire Deaf community of Southern Louisiana. We know that our actions have an effect on the community as a whole.
When we hold one discriminatory business or facility responsible for their actions, the impact is felt across our entire community.
Advocacy Starts Here—Speak With a Baton Rouge Deaf Rights Lawyer
Discrimination in any form can be a truly isolating experience. As a deaf or hard of hearing person living in Southern Louisiana, you may not be sure where to turn for help when a business or employer refuses to provide reasonable accommodations, wrongfully denies services, or otherwise limits your experience or interaction with the world.
Bianca | Matkins wants to stress that you are not in this alone.
A Baton Rouge Deaf rights lawyer is standing by to meet with you. We offer free, confidential consultations with ASL-fluent lawyers. Contact our law office today to schedule a case evaluation at your earliest convenience.