Autistic Man Called Stupid By Gym Staff Does Something Incredible To Fight Back
KetanAggarwal is a thirty-year-old man with autism who also has a passion for fitness.
He was in a spin class when he agreed with a fellow cyclist the music was too slow prompting the instructor at Virgin Athletic Club to allegedly yell “don’t tell me how to do my job”.
When the class ended, the instructor “shouted” at him, twice calling him “stupid” in the microphone in front of thirtypeople.
“He started shouting across the room and told me my ‘opinion was bollocks’ in the middle of the class,” Aggarwal said. “I stayed quiet but it made me feel horrible. He singled me out even though I only agreed with someone else. I believe this is because of my autism.”
He made an official complaint, but was ignored, which led him toprove just how stupid he wasn’tby successfully suing them for disability discrimination while representing himself in court.
With the help of library books and online resources, he spent two years teaching himself law and beat the multi-million dollar company’s legal team.
Virgin Active was ordered to pay him costs and compensation of around $1,700, apologize, and to look into training staff on equality.
The instructor was also fired from his job.
“He called me stupid twice,” he said. “Calling someone with a mental disability ‘stupid’ is similar to mocking a guy in a wheelchair. If I was that stupid I wouldn’t have been able to successfully pursue the claim.”
“It was two years coming and it was hard work,” he added. “I’m not a legal professional and I had to do a huge amount of paperwork.”
“It was worth it though,” he said. “It wasn’t about the money, it was about the principle.”
As Virgin Active, a spokesman: “We believe in offering a welcoming, inclusive and friendly environment for our members. We are very sorry that on this occasion we failed to do that, and are committed to reviewing our ongoing training to ensure the experience for all members is of the highest quality.”