You shall not curse a deaf person. You shall not place a stumbling block before a blind person, and you shall fear your God. I am the Lord.
a highlight of my legal career was petitioning to the california supreme court for a writ of review. the court unanimously granted the petition and remanded the matter to be argued at the court of appeals. while my legal brief included the appropriate statute and caselaw citations, i decided to offer up a citation to leviticus 19:14. my client suffered from a disability. a part of my argument was that she was unfairly disadvantaged by that fact. the result was a win at the court of appeals.
leviticus 19:14, evidences that disability discrimination is a problem that existed thousands of years ago. it was so much of a problem that the master of the universe felt it necessary to specifically address it within the torah. moses, with his encounter at the burning bush, was explicitly told by the creator of universe that the disabled are part of god’s creation. exodus 4:11. in otherwords, the disabled are as much of god’s creation and god’s plan as anyone else.
it is reported that ms. ashley vallejo, who is deaf and suffers from speech difficulties, has had multiple uncomfortable encounters with employees at businesses. it appears that some employees lacked sensitivity and concern with respect to the fact that she had difficulties expressing herself. dailymail.com
incidents like ms. vallejo has encountered raise the question as to “how can employees best be taught how to respect the disabled.”
there are essentially two ways of motivating employees.
a modern societal approach involves motivation “by the rod.” governmental regulations allowing for fines and lawsuits against discriminatory businesses place fear in employers. as such, employers, in fear of losing profit, teach the employees about how to treat disabled customers. employees understand that their jobs are in jeopardy for non-compliance.
a moral approach is about “doing the proper thing.” both the business owners and workers can take time to appreciate and understand the torah’s commandment and why it exists. simply put, they are reminded that all people, able or disabled are all god’s children. as such, it is expected that they be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else.
perhaps, employees would benefit from both explanations.
ms. vallejo’s story involved an experience with the dutch brothers coffee company. she was marked as the “most difficult customer ever” on a receipt by a worker. this forced the company to apologize. also, she reportedly has had some problems with mcdonald’s workers as well. dailymail.com
to ms. vallejo’s credit, she is taking her difficulties with customer service and trying to turn this moment into a positive. she is posting videos to educate people. dailymail.com
in sum, it would be wonderful is companies, in their training, can take the time to have their staff watch ms. vallejo’s videos so that they can gain a better understanding of the difficulties that she, and others have, with respect to communications. it would also be wonderful, if workers were taught of leviticus 19:14, and that historically and religiously, the disabled are valued members of communities and worthy of respect and dignity.
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