Bad Hearing

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about possible racial misunderstanding due to hearing loss:

I may be working at a restaurant soon but my manager and co-workers all have heavy accents and I have bad hearing. I don’t want to be annoying or look racist by asking over and over what they said. How can I make this situation better for me and my co-workers?

Signed: Don’t Want To Be Seen As Racist

Dear Don’t Want To Be Seen As Racist:

From what you say, you aren’t yet employed in a restaurant that has a manager and co-workers who have language that you might not be able to understand. Having a language different from yours doesn’t mean that they have as you put it “heavy accents”; it’s just that their manner of speaking is different from what you are used to—when speaking and hearing.

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