Every day parents and advocates of children with special
needs reach out to each other and offer, through the magic of
e-mail and Listservs, online information, advice, and support.
Today "karatemom" told this story and we want to share it, in
the hope that it will inspire others.
For more articles like this
"I was shopping today at a
well-known, local store when I heard a "supervisor" two isles
down ripping into an employee for not performing a task properly
(something about labeling and putting things on the shelf). It
was very loud, harsh and belittling treatment. I am not sure,
but I suspect the employee may have some learning challenges.
(My radar told me so, but I didn't observe the employee enough
to be sure). I was embarrassed for the employee and dismayed to
see any employee treated that way, especially in public.
I walked over to the isle, past the supervisor and took a good
look at his name tag. I decided not to say anything to
him....instead I went to the front desk and asked to speak to
the store manager, and I was specific, I wanted the top person
in the building.
He came to see me and we talked about what I saw/heard. I
identified what I do for a living (I work with young people with
disabilities) and how we place people with challenges in job
sites like the one I was in (which, by the way, has a very good
record of hiring people with disabilities) and how appalled I
was to see treatment like this of ANY employee, it was so
The manager listened, took my name and number and asked me to
describe specifically what I saw and heard. During this time,
the supervisor had come over to the service desk and was hanging
around (he knew he was in trouble), which made it easier for me
to identify exactly who I was talking about. The manager at
least expressed his agreement that it's inappropriate to handle
employees in that manner and that problems should definitely be
handled off of the floor.
I suggested that it is possible the supervisor lacks the skills
to know how to give directions to people with challenges, which
may be frustrating for him, so he may need help with those
skills. I also asked that the manager speak to the bullied
employee. I went on to explain how being treated so
disrespectfully can damage self esteem (this employee really did
nothing but try to explain himself, he then shut up and busied
himself with work while the supervisor harped on him). I told
the store manager that the bullied employee needed support to
deal with what just happened to him. The store manager told me
all about the employees with special needs that he has working
there and how valuable they are and what a good job they do. He
told me that he appreciated that I took time to wait for him to
come to the desk so that I could tell him what had happened.
I felt that he was genuine in his concern and that he was going
to follow up. And the supervisor in question had that look on
his face like he knew he was busted. (GOOD!) The last time I
complained about a rude employee (more than 10 years ago...I
received good follow up)
I hate to think of what might have happened if I hadn't been
there to speak for this individual. Maybe the higher powers that
be knew what they were doing.