A former Mercedes-Benz dealership worker has received a $5 million award in his disability discrimination lawsuit. A federal judge issued the award on a recent Thursday. According to the man's attorneys, it was one of the largest disability awards in recent history.
According to the lawsuit, the man had been an employee with Mercedes-Benz in Washington state for 14 years. However, in late 2014, he needed to have a laryngectomy due to cancer. By early 2015, he was ready to return to work as a finance director at the Mercedes-Benz dealership, and he had doctor approval to do so.
As a result of the man's surgery, he had to breath through a hole in his neck and communicate with a speaking device while recovering. However, before returning to work, the finance director bumped into the owner of the dealership. As a result of the meeting, the owner determined that the man couldn't do his job. In an email, the owner told the employee that his voice box speaking device "would be unappealing to customers," when he terminated him via electronic correspondence.
The termination of the man as a result of his voice box speaking device, according to the lawsuit, was a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state laws. After receiving the favorable verdict of $5 million, the man's attorneys stated, "This verdict is a tremendous victory for our client and our community."
If you feel that you were wrongfully terminated or discriminated against at work as a result of your disability, you may be able to fight back in court. Learn more about your legal rights and options by visiting our workplace discrimination page.