Indignity of Work: Company Policy: If A Disabled Coworker Falls, Leave Him There

It’s time for an Indignity of Work story.  Here’s another example of company policy forcing you to demean yourself for that paycheck without reasonable justification.

Today, we were explicitly instructed that if our disabled coworker falls down (again) we are not to help him up.  The reasoning offered was the company would be liable if the rescue attempt injured the fallen, his good Samaratan, or any slack-jawed gawkers present.  We are required to leave him wallowing (possibly suffering) on the floor and call the company’s local honcho.  We were told this was an interim approach until a procedure could be worked out with the building owner, presumably using the maintenance staff (and their obvious expertise as trained paramedics …  oh, wait).

Of course, we were not bold enough to raise objections because we need to keep our jobs.  Reading between the lines, we know that going forward if someone renders such aid, they can expect to be fired.

Here are a few of the questions that today’s policy discussion didn’t address:

  • May we offer the fallen a jacket, some food or water, or even some comforting words, such as “Don’t worry.  Help will be here soon.  I dispatched Lassie an hour ago; she’s surely figured out how to use the elevator by now?”
  • If he falls down in front of the closed door, the fire alarm sounds, and we cannot exit without moving him, may we help him to his feet, or must we all die in the inferno in the name of this asinine policy?
  • Do we have permission to fend off any opportunistic wolves or vultures that may find their way into this downtown highrise sensing easy prey?

Apparently, the interest of the company in minimizing the probablity of liability (for which the company and building owner are probably insured) outweights the interests of the disabled person to his dignity and the right of the involuntary bystanders to act on their compassion for their fellow man (or rather one’s interest in not feeling and looking like a heartless jerk).  Is such a inhumane policy common, or is it just common to offices staffed mostly with lawyers?

  1. What company is this?
    We all deserve a chance to stop by and spit on the boss.

    • RagingWisdom

      It is a spit-worthy policy.  However, I’m not sure where to aim the spit.  I would be surprised if the local honcho is the one who created this mess.  I’m sure he would be fired if he didn’t implement and enforce this nonsense.  Bureaucracy blocks accountability.

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