I was recently approached by a young man who posed the following scenario. He works at a youngish tech company and they employ a programmer, who also happens to be a quadraplegic. The company has a young vibe and they quite often have after work drinks. The week prior, the director, who is not always on site, breezed in with hamburgers for all to enjoy with their drinks. Sounds really good doesn’t it?
The problem this young man had is that his disabled colleague was unable
to eat his hamburger. The young man therefore also declined. He found the approach of his director insensitive and in his words “simply stupid”.
This conversation got me thinking about how much we still have to learn as humans and about our fellow South Africans if we want a fully inclusive workplace
. Clearly this director was doing his team a favour, clearly most of them enjoyed being spoiled a bit, but the very action that caused happiness in some caused distress for others
It is also our experience that in a tech environment most of the workforce are highly task and cerebral orientated individuals who may feel extremely uncomfortable having these kind of discussions
with their colleagues and/or acquaintances as opposed to a family member.
Topics like these
are up for discussion in all our Diversity workshops
and suffice to say there is not only one way to approach a better solution.
What would you have done?
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