DiBartolomeo Law Offices - February 2019

ORDERING COFFEE JUST GOT EASIER How Starbucks Helps the Deaf Community

If you’ve ever visited a Starbucks coffee shop, you’ve likely heard a patron rattle off a drink order that was more specific than your grandma’s pecan pie recipe. For example, they might say, “I’ll take a Grande, four- pump, nonfat, no-whip, extra-hot mocha.” Without missing a beat, the barista scribbles the order on the cup and starts making the drink. Orders like this one are a mouthful for even the most seasoned Starbucks guru, but for deaf people, it can be difficult to even order a cup of black coffee. Adam Novsam, a deaf utility analyst at Starbucks headquarters in Seattle, set out to address that difficulty by heading the launch of the company’s first deaf-friendly signing store. Operation The store’s grand opening took place in October in Washington, D.C. Its overall success relies primarily on its purposeful operation and design elements. In 2005, the ASL Deaf Studies Department at Gallaudet University created the DeafSpace Project using design elements, such as space and proximity, sensory reach, mobility, light, and acoustics, to address potential challenges for deaf people. Starbucks’ signing store incorporates these aspects of DeafSpace to make

their store more accessible. For customers new to sign language, the store features some high-tech options for assisting with communication, ordering drinks, and receiving beverages at the handoff counter, including digital notepads and a console with two- way keyboards for back-and-forth conversations. Aprons All store partners at the signing store are proficient in ASL, whether they are hearing, hearing-impaired, or deaf. However, deaf partners wear special green aprons embroidered with the ASL spelling of Starbucks. What’s more, these aprons were created by a deaf supplier! Education For hearing customers who aren’t fluent in ASL — even those just ducking in to grab a cup of coffee to go — the signing store offers an opportunity to learn something new. For example, they can learn how to sign a word like “espresso” in ASL merely by reading the chalkboard above the register with the “sign of the week.” Starbucks’ decision to make their product more accessible has benefited thousands of customers all along the East Coast. Hopefully, as time goes on, other corporations will choose to follow suit so we can make a more deaf-friendly society.

WHY’D MY CLAIM GET DENIED? Common Workers’ Compensation Problems

In an ideal world, workers’ compensation claims would be handled quickly and fairly, and all legitimate claims would receive approval. Unfortunately, denials are all too common. After all, it’s in your employer’s and their insurance company’s best interests to find any reason to reduce or negate your compensation. Of course, they must have legal ground to do so. If you were surprised your claim got denied, here are a few common reasons that may have happened.

you and your physician should fill out Form 827. Lacking this documentation, failing to meet these deadlines, or filing the claim after you’ve left your job can often result in the insurance company denying your claim. If you believe these denials came as a result of a clerical error, it may be worth talking to your employer and clarifying the misunderstanding. Disputes The other common denial we see is when your employer or their insurance company disagrees that your injury was

is due to factors outside the workplace. This is the time to gather evidence to support your side of the story. Depending on the nature of your injury and the reason given for denial, an independent medical examination may help your case. Denials Aren’t the End of the Road If your claim was denied, you still have options available to you. An expert Oregon workers’ compensation attorney like Joe DiBartolomeo can help you

determine the strength of your claim and whether filing an appeal is the right move for you. Our team will help you understand your legal options and find the best route toward just compensation.

Paperwork and Red Tape There are many legal hoops injured

primarily caused by the workplace. They may claim that you were not following proper safety procedure or that your condition

workers have to jump through to be eligible for compensation. The first of these are tight deadlines. If you are injured or made ill while on the job, you need to notify your employer immediately and then file Form 801. If you go to a doctor for your injury,

The Di Bartolomeo Law Office, P.C. 1139 Exchange Street | Astoria, Oregon | 503-325-8600 | www.JoeDiBartolomeo.com

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