Anonymous asked realsocialskills:i recently got a job and my boss is ableist. a group of people with disabilities came in and i was talking to one of the women about the movie we had on and my boss pulled me to the side and told me i “cant do that” because “their minds dont work as fast” and told me i have to treat them like i would children. what do i do??? (if possible please respond quickly, the same group frequents the shop and i really dont know how to handle this situation at all)realsocialskills said:I never know a good way to respond to bosses who act this way.The least bad approach I’ve been able to think of is listening to them say ableist things, then ignoring their advice and treating the customers with disabilities like people when they’re not looking.Depending on the work hierarchy, it might be possible to complain to their boss. That works in some situations but not others.There’s probably a better approach though. Have any of y’all found a good way to handle this?
you could maybe try something like “even if they don’t understand what i’m saying, it seems to make them happy when i treat them like i would any other customer. i just want to make all my customers happy.”
if you have experience with people who have similar disabilities (or are disabled yourself*), you could possibly try “i know from my experience with [insert person here], it’s actually better to treat them like [description of better treatment based on your job].” please don’t do this if you are able-bodied/don’t know someone with a similar disability.
(((*i think, and feel free to correct me if i’m wrong, if you are disabled yourself, it is okay to lie and say that it’s a cousin or someone else if you feel like telling them it’s you will get you in trouble or otherwise be harmful to yourself; i’m basing this on the fact that i often lie about “having a gay friend who…” when really i mean myself because it is not safe for me to be out at work.)))
another thought i had was…are they coming in with an aide? it might be possible - if they have a good aide who actually understands the people they work with (i know this is not always the case) - that you might be able to get them to side with you???
this is much more difficult, not just bc they might have a bad aide, but because of hipaa laws (in the usa); the aide can’t disclose what might be considered medical information. also, you don’t want to talk about the disabled people like they aren’t there. unfortunately, this is more difficult for me to come up with an example of something to say, so perhaps someone else can come up with something here.