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Texas man fired, discriminated against because of disability

Sometimes when you hear stories that involve discrimination and the workplace, you wonder just how bad it must be at a business or institution for such attitudes to be allowed. Basing any employment decision simply because of one factor -- may it be race, religion, gender, etc. -- is illegal and absolutely devastating to the victimized employee.

One school in Texas somehow took the act of discrimination a step further, wrongfully terminating a self-described "mentally retarded" person who worked at the school for a decade as a grounds and utility employee.

The man was driving a truck and caused an accident on school grounds. Details regarding the accident weren't provided, but the man was fired. He sued the school for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act because he was harassed and embarrassed for his disability and because he was forced to perform duties outside of his job description.

Amazingly, the school tried to argue that the man wasn't mentally challenged in any way despite the fact he has an IQ of 72, just two points above the traditionally accepted IQ level for mental retardation. At the same time, the man's job did not include anything that would force him to drive a vehicle. As his lawsuit contends, the school could have easily made someone else drive the truck. Last but not least, the man was frequently called "Forrest Gump" at work.

Such humiliation and unfair treatment is unfortunately common for many people in the workplace, especially for those with disabilities. The court agreed with the fired man in this case, and he was given unspecified awards.

Source: Business Management Daily, "How not to treat a learning-disabled employee," Oct. 21, 2012

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*Alfonso Kennard, Jr. and Terrence Robinson are Board Certified in Labor & Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Alfonso Kennard, Jr. has been recognized as a SuperLawyer in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Terrence Robinson has been recognized as a SuperLawyer in 2005, 2006, 2011, and 2012. Alfonso Kennard, Jr. and Terrence Robinson are AV Rated by Lexis Nexis-their highest distinction since as recently as 2013. Both have been designated as Top Laywers, by Lexis Nexis.