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Flail v. Bolger

  • By: Joseph Dewey
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

On October 6, 1981, American newspapers, amid banner headlines blaring news of the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar el-Sadat, quietly reported a historic lawsuit settlement in a New Jersey district court that marked the first time a federal agency, in this case the United States Postal Service, publicly acknowledged discriminatory practices targeting deaf employees.

In May, 1979, Karl L. Flail, 38, of Wanaque, New Jersey, made application to work in the Paterson postal facility in northern New Jersey. He thought working as a postal carrier driving the delivery truck would be an opportunity for him to pursue a different career. He had more than 20 years of safe driving experience. That itself is not unusual.

When the postal facility management hired Flail, they told him of a ...

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