Lawsuit claims Nassau discriminates against hearing impaired

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GARDEN CITY -

A new lawsuit claims that Nassau County is discriminating against people who are hearing impaired.

Robert Piscitello, a 31-year-old who's hearing impaired, applied for a job with Nassau as a police dispatcher. He started the process in the fall and passed all the requirements until he had to take the hearing test.

His lawyer, Jonathon Bell, says Piscitello was told he had to take the test without his hearing aids. Piscitello insisted he couldn't hear without them, but he says the county wouldn't relent.

Piscitello failed the test and didn't get the job.

Bell calls it a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He says the 911 dispatcher civil service test does not list hearing disabilities as reasons for disqualification.

Piscitello says he's never felt such discrimination in his life.

A county spokesperson sent a statement that reads:

Nassau County has an ongoing policy to not discuss pending litigation and will therefore not address anything pertaining to the civil service candidate or the specific issues pertaining to his lawsuit.

Nassau County's police call center and its operators are the life and safety line for the public. All those who have had the need to call 911 to alert the police of an emergency can attest to that. Therefore, those who are placed in this position are valued for their ability to gather information and communicate instructions clearly and articulately, without delay or difficulty.

The Dispatch Operator Civil Service Exam for the Nassau County Police Department has specified procedures to ensure that those candidates applying for dispatch positions can assume the role efficiently and effectively.

Exam procedures are put in place to be certain that those individuals securing any position within the County is thoroughly qualified. The County will continue to look at all procedural examination steps to give all candidates every opportunity to succeed.

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