Too often workers find themselves the victim of callous corporate decisions. Employers hire employees to carry out specific tasks, and if they prove unfit or unwilling to do so, their relationship is terminated.
Doron Salomon figured his mother, Yvonne Salomon, would be losing her job before too long. Not because she no longer wanted to work, but because she was slowly losing the ability to work effectively.
Yvonne Salomon was hired to work at Sainsbury’s grocery store in 2012. She was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers in 2013.
Here's Yvonne Salomon's no make up selfie. And of course she's donated!
“When my mum first began to show signs of the disease she was working as a bookkeeper,” Doron wrote on Twitter. “Formerly a very organized person who was good with numbers it became obvious quite quickly she could no longer do her job effectively.”
Yvonne, who was only in her 50s, was able to find work at Sainsbury’s putting together orders received online. She worked part-time, and was able to do her job effectively in the early stages of her condition.
“Medically, she was fine even if staff may have quickly realized something was up,” Doron said. “Since being diagnosed late in 2013 Sainsbury’s were made aware of every medical update.”
Before long, Doron’s mother’s condition worsened to where he thought they’d have to let her go. He was wrong.
Rather than dismiss her, the grocery store found other ways for Yvonne to contribute.
A man has thanked Sainsbury's for 'undeniably' helping with his mother's Alzheimer’s by keeping her in a job for five years – constantly altering her role to suit her skills and needs as her condition deteriorated https://t.co/UwxBE8Aa0P pic.twitter.com/6q0HuyIlAM
— ITV News (@itvnews) March 5, 2018
As her Alzheimer’s progressed, Sainsbury’s reassigned Yvonne to simpler tasks. They offered her retraining, had regular welfare meetings with her and her husband, and made sure other employees were aware of her condition.
“Sainsbury’s have seen my mum deteriorate to the point that every day for the last year or so she has gone into the store confused, as if she’d never been there before,” Doron said.
“They have always stood by her, going above and beyond to make sure she’s happy and feeling valued.”
Each time his dad was called in for a meeting at the store, he thought it was to inform him of her dismissal. Instead, they wanted to know what more they could do to help Yvonne.
“Most recently this has involved giving her the task of cleaning the tote boxes (something staff already did as part of their job),” he said.
“The sense of self-worth and pride has undeniably helped with aspects of her Alzheimer’s, such as giving her something to talk about in social situations.”
In October 2017, Yvonne’s occupational health assessment deemed her unemployable, but Sainsbury’s stood by her side.
Hi Doron. It’s clear your mum’s contribution was valued as one of our colleagues, regardless of her condition. The team here were quite moved reading your tweets. We’ll make sure the right people get to hear about this. Thanks. Ross.
— Sainsbury's (@sainsburys) March 4, 2018
Doron figured the assessment would be the end his mother’s working career. But to his shock, the store was still willing to accommodate her.
She worked for almost an additional six months at the Sainsbury’s location in Kenton, North London. Her last day at the store was March 3.
“Doron’s mum was a much loved colleague and an inspiration to all of us. We’d like to thank her for her years of service and wish her all the best for the future,” a spokesman for Sainsbury’s told the BBC.
Now 61 years old, the hard-working and courageous mother will be settling into retirement. The compassion and grace Sainsbury’s showed her proves that it’s not always about the bottom line.
“Even when they probably should have let her go they didn’t until now,” Doron said. “My mum was emotional but relieved. Senior management have acted with compassion and handled everything with class and dignity.”