Ruffa v. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
On July 20, 2021, DRA filed a class action lawsuit against the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on behalf of Deaf human resource (HR) professionals who do not have equal access to SHRM’s services because SHRM fails to provide accommodations like sign language interpreters, captioning, and timely transcripts for SHRM’s continuing education programming.
SHRM is the largest professional human resources membership association in the world and provides some of the most widely recognized HR professional certifications.
On June 23, 2022, on behalf of three Deaf HR professionals, DRA and SHRM reached a landmark settlement agreement that will vastly increase the accessibility of SHRM’s services for its customers who are Deaf.
SHRM offers popular certifications for HR professionals that are critical for career advancement and skills development. Individuals may obtain these certifications through examinations and must maintain them through re-examination or continuing education. SHRM offers courses to prepare for its certification examinations as well as a variety of programming, most of which is eligible for credit-earning toward recertification.
As part of the agreement, SHRM will ensure that closed captioning compliant with the most recent version of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is posted contemporaneously with all new, pre-recorded content that SHRM offers. Among other commitments, SHRM will also automatically provide real-time captioning and American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for main sessions at in-person conferences and real-time captioning for all large online events. Pursuant to this agreement, SHRM will also institute an Accommodations Policy laying out a clear and streamlined process for customers to request additional reasonable accommodations.
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