National Association of the Deaf

Deaf Pharmacist Wins Right to Receive Relay Calls



The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) reached a settlement with the Alabama Board of Pharmacy (ALBOP) in the case of Barbara Jane Howard, a qualified deaf pharmacist. Ms. Howard filed a complaint in federal court alleging she was denied the right to accept prescription orders through relay service calls on the job. The NAD is pleased to have this matter resolved.

Howard, who graduated with honors from her pharmacy program, was qualified to perform her duties at Wal-Mart when the ALBOP denied her the right to use relay services on the job.  ALBOP claimed that only a pharmacist or registered intern could accept prescription orders; not a relay service operator. Ms. Howard claimed that ALBOP had violated her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under the settlement agreement, Ms. Howard will be able to use relay services on the job.

"Telecommunications relay services enables deaf and hard of hearing people to access and use the nation's telephone system. The ability to access and use the telephone system is critical for employment and other areas of daily life," said NAD President Bobbie Beth Scoggins. "Deaf and hard of hearing professionals have the right to succeed as highly trained professionals. Professionals, such as pharmacists and attorneys, should not be restricted in any way just because they happen to be deaf o