“Mongrel act of the day at Florey shops this afternoon,” Michael Richer wrote in a message to us on Facebook about this illegal use of a disabled parking spot.
“No pass on dash visible . Photo 1 shows dash clearly. As a disabled driver, I’m annoyed.”
It must be beyond infuriating as a person with a disability to drive to your local shopping centre and find that the designated disabled spots have been taken up by individuals who have no need for them.
Unfortunately, while it’s not always as blatant as in this very public example, use of disabled spots by able-bodied drivers is all too common an occurrence in Canberra. It’s a selfish and thoughtless act that is completely unnecessary given the alternatives available to those of us who can easily walk between our car and destination.
Mr Richer said scenarios like this occur frequently in car parks all over the country.
“All I say is live a day in our shoes,” he said.
“Having a disability does not preclude me from contributing to society and earning a income.”
Perhaps more social media and RiotACT shaming of those at fault is in order. We’re game if you are.
Not that we’re happy to be outing a business over such behaviour as we are in the case. The onus is clearly on individuals to act in accordance with company expectations, whether they’re in the workplace or representing the organisation publicly by wearing uniform or driving a vehicle displaying company branding. If they don’t, they’re putting their employers’ reputation, and potentially their own livelihood, at risk.
Plenty of individuals fail to make the connection between their behaviour and their employers’ reputation. In the past fortnight alone I’ve seen ACTION bus drivers hurtling down a quiet street at 20km over the limit; a food and packaging delivery truck cutting fellow drivers off in its rush through the suburbs and an electronics repair van tailgating another vehicle. It’s enough to make you consider investing in a dashcam so you can dob the offenders in, if not to police then at least to their employers.
While the evidence was damning in the case Mr Richer alerted us to (and provided photographic evidence of) a few weeks back, we felt we should check with the Lack Group before publishing an article on the incident in case the driver or a passenger in their vehicle on the day in question were disabled and had simply forgotten their disability parking permit.
The Queensland-based and family-run company confirmed there had been no disabled driver or passenger involved. It was therefore as Mr Richer had surmised a case of an “unfortunate and unacceptable decision” taken by one of Lack’s employees.
The Lack family was unsurprisingly very upset to learn that a member of its staff had behaved in such a manner while driving one of its vehicles.
David Lewin, the company’s executive manager, commercial and risk, told us the group implemented serious performance management actions for the employees involved .
“They are fully aware of the seriousness of their actions and that there is no tolerance to this type of behaviour,” Mr Lewin said.
“Our employees have admitted they made a very inconsiderate decision, are extremely remorseful and are sincerely embarrassed by their actions.
“As an equal opportunity employer, we condemn these actions and this incident has been used as an opportunity to further educate our employees in the importance of mutual respect for all members of the community.”
He noted also that the behaviour was “totally out of character for these employees” and expressed concern about the possible impact of the incident on the business as it had only recently commenced operating in the ACT.
“The Lack family name is prominently displayed on our vehicles and having originated from a small country community, we understand the importance of our public image and community expectations,” he said.
“Being relatively newly established in the ACT region, any negative perceptions can have a debilitating impact on our expansion program, and can very quickly bring undone all the hard work that goes into establishing a new base and clientele.”
Mr Lewin said the company’s values and codes of conduct [which are clearly set out on its website] require employees to behave in a manner that promotes positive interaction with clients and the general public as well as aligning with community expectation.
“From time to time people do sometime tend to make the wrong or inappropriate decisions and when we discover this has occurred we implement timely actions in order to prevent this from occurring again,” he said.
“In relation to this particular matter, when we discovered the information via a social media post being Facebook, our Executive Manager Human Resources initiated contact with the member of the community who was inconvenienced by the actions of our employee.
“We offered our sincere apologies and outlined the actions we were undertaking as a result of our employees behaviour.”
Mr Lewin said the Lack Group was an equal opportunity employer that condemned the actions of the driver in question.
“This incident has been used as an opportunity to further educate our employees in the importance of mutual respect for all members of the community,” he said.
Mr Richer remained sceptical about the actions and the remorseful comments of the Lack Group employees involved in the incident.
“I’m sure that their attitude will change if it directly affects them or a member of their family,” he said today.
“Then it’s too late to respect others.”