I am sitting here currently waiting for the phone to ring. This phone call is highly anticipated as it is coming from what Americans would call the ADA. This is not the ADA, but a UK version. Yes, I've been here for two and a half weeks and I am already stirring the pot.
I went to my job interview last night and knew as soon as I walked in something was wrong. The person interviewing me said,
"Does he always go everywhere with you?"
She was not referring to Mr. K. She was referring to Mr. G. Considering Mr. G-AKA Glacier-is my eyes, I replied that he did. I explained that if any of my clients had dog allergies I could make adjustments. She seemed satisfied with that answer and we proceeded with the interview that consisted of me massaging the woman for an hour and a half. (Perhaps I should bill her).
Personally, I thought the massage went well, but something didn't feel quite right. I was comfortable with my techniques and performed well, but I could tell she didn't like aspects of what I did because it wasn't what she would have done. I hoped that she would be open minded enough to differing massage styles to suggest I get the position to her boss, but that obviously didn't happen. That said, that is a whole other can of worms and isn't what is making me angry.
I am angry because I received an email this morning telling me that I didn't get the job because I am blind. That is what she said. Oh wait. First she commended me for being courageous and inspirational-even though I have never met her-and then said "however" I didn't get the job because I am blind. She said there were health and safety issues and that insurance wouldn't accept me.
She went on to say that she "could not allow dogs into the salon."
This statement implies a lot.
First of all, Glacier is not a "dog," but rather a "guide dog." Big difference!
Second of all, you have to let guide dogs into the salon because it is illegal to deny them.
Third of all, this statement implies that she would not even provide services to a paying customer if they had a guide dog because she "cannot allow dogs into the salon.
I had told the woman that interviewed me that I would be willing to leave Glacier in a different room if a client was allergic and that I had no problem sweeping up every night in order to decrease the amount of fur present in the clinic room. I, by law, do not have to do any of these things. In fact, they are supposed to be accommodating me; not the other way around. I just offered because it is something I don't mind doing and I can usually be a reasonable individual.
I think this needs no further explanation. Does everyone else see the problem with this statement?
Let's go back to her health and safety concerns.
I can get insurance. Mr. K and I already looked into it, but in her haste not to hire a blind person, she didn't even check the validity of that statement. Not to mention, any health and safety issue that may apply to me, would apply to the rest of her staff. If that is the case, she might want to make some changes. I know how to unplug and shut off a crockpot. (The hot stones for massage are heated up in a crockpot). She also assumed that I couldn't do the laundry. Part of the conditions of working there was that the therapist would be responsible for the cleaning of linens. Let's think about this.
I came to the salon in clean clothes. I have been a massage therapist for two years now. Does she not think that I haven't done laundry in the years of being a therapist? What about the fact that I've been doing my own laundry since I was twelve years old?!
She also assumed that I didn't know how to or wouldn't be able to clean the stones in a timely manner after each massage. I took the damn course didn't I?! I passed the damn course didn't I?! I'm pretty sure I know how to clean the stones. I was never asked to demonstrate my stone cleaning ability. Not to mention, the therapist that tested me last night cleaned them wrong. The way she cleaned them would spread an infectious disease if it were to get onto the sheets. In fact, her therapist did a lot of things wrong that I planned on changing but didn't say so because thought it would be rude. But you know...I'm apparently under qualified...according to her therapist.
I could argue the "under qualified" aspect quite strongly, but I won't even go there. The blind thing is the biggest issue right now.
I'm really sick of people deciding what I can and cannot do without meeting me or asking questions. I'm rreally tired of people deciding my capability based on a stereotype.
Perhaps this is petty of me, but her therapist, who I was interviewing to replace, wants to go back to Canada and massage in Nova Scotia. I don't think she realises that she would have to take a board exam and judging by her knowledge and practices last night, she will not pass. I'm angry because I am a capable, knowledgeable therapist. I'm not going to say that I am the best in the world, but I am good. I'm not sure what other health and safety issues she thought might arise. Maybe she thought I'd ingest nail polish by accident or something. Last time I checked, I don't go around swallowing substances that stink.
Regardless, I am going to be speaking with the anti-discrimination people and taking this further. This sort of behavior is not okay.