SmileMask - Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT THE SMILEMASK FACE MASK
- New and improved - three design options
- Clear face masks made with anti-fog material
- Nontoxic and BPA-free
- Commercial grade
- Reusable. Hand-wash and air-dry
- Adjustable ear loops so mask fits nearly everyone
- Custom colors, sizes, and branding are available for large orders
- Masks are personal use items. Opened packages cannot be returned
SMILEMASK FACE MASKS SPECIFICATIONS
- Width: 7 inches
- Top to bottom: 3 1/2 inches
- Window width: 6 inches
- Window height at center: 2 inches
- Cotton, breathable fabric
DO FACE MASKS CAUSE PROBLEMS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD-OF-HEARING?
Yes. According to the CDC, approximately 48 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss. For more than 10 million of those people, their hearing loss is so severe that it interferes with normal conversation. Many deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals rely on lipreading and interpretation of facial expressions to help them communicate, but face masks make this impossible.
Even for people who are not hearing impaired, face masks interfere with communication: as much as 60% of communication is non-verbal, and people convey more information through facial expressions and tone of voice than through words.
DURING COVID-19, DO EMPLOYEES NEED TO WEAR FACE MASKS WHEN INTERACTING WITH THE PUBLIC?
Yes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends employees wear face coverings in public where physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (such as in retail stores and restaurants). Additionally, nearly every state recommends use of face masks by employees in any business that deals with the public.
DO BUSINESSES NEED TO PROVIDE MODIFIED FACE MASKS TO HELP COMMUNICATE WITH HEARING IMPAIRED PEOPLE?
Yes. Here are guidelines from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC):
“Where an employee with a disability needs a related reasonable accommodation under the ADA (e.g., non-latex gloves, modified face masks for interpreters or others who communicate with an employee who uses lip reading, or gowns designed for individuals who use wheelchairs), or a religious accommodation under Title VII (such as modified equipment due to religious garb), the employer should discuss the request and provide the modification or an alternative if feasible and not an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business under the ADA or Title VII.”
Because the ADA protects customers as well as employees, the EEOC guidance also requires employees to wear modified face masks when communicating with customers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
SmileMask is a “modified face mask” that complies with federal guidelines.
ARE BUSINESSES REQUIRED TO ACCOMMODATE CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD-OF-HEARING?
Yes. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), being deaf or hard-of-hearing qualifies as a "disability." According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), businesses “must provide aids and services when needed to communicate effectively with people who have communication disabilities.” Various state laws also require businesses to accommodate customers and employees with hearing impairment.
WHAT IF BUSINESSES DON'T PROVIDE REASONABLE ACCOMMODATION TO PEOPLE WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD-OF HEARING?
They can be sued. Recently, the DOJ, EEOC, the National Association of the Deaf, and plaintiff’s class action attorneys have successfully prosecuted lawsuits against retailers and other employers that failed to accommodate individuals who were deaf or hard-of-hearing. These lawsuits have cost employers millions of dollars.
HOW WILL THE SMILEMASK HELP MY BUSINESS?
SmileMask is a reusable cloth face mask with a clear window that permits lipreading and visualization of facial expressions. Made from soft fabric, SmileMask can be worn for hours without discomfort. Its specially-coated plastic window resists fogging.
Buying SmileMasks face masks for your customer service employees (cashiers, sales clerks, waiters, customer service associates, flight attendants, etc.) will benefit your business in two ways:
- Using SmileMask face masks will provide a defense against predatory plaintiff’s lawyers and government regulators who are looking for opportunities to sue retailers, restaurants, and other businesses for failing to accommodate customers and employees during this national health crisis. Damages and penalties under the ADA and state law can be substantial, and even a frivolous lawsuit costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend.
- SmileMask face masks will set your business apart as one that still cares about customer service. For decades, a primary rule of customer service all retail businesses taught their employees was to smile at the customer. Studies prove that smiling during a customer interaction increases customer satisfaction and improves the customer’s perception of the company’s brand. Smiling also builds rapport and trust with the customer, which leads to customer loyalty and increased sales. Finally, smiling conveys a positive attitude, which in turn improves employee morale and enhances the customer experience. With SmileMask, your company can continue to provide outstanding customer service even during this difficult time.