A jury awarded a man who had served the U.S. in both Iraq and Afghanistan $75,000 to compensate him for being unlawfully discharged from an FBI training program for special agents. The man had been one of the top students in his firearms class, but authorities in the FBI remained concerned about the safety of someone with a prosthetic hand operating a weapon.
The man lost one hand when a defective grenade exploded back in 2004. He had learned to safely and accurately use a gun with his other hand such that he was able to meet the requirements of the training program. Still, he claimed in his lawsuit that the FBI treated him differently than others in the program and that he was required to do more tests than the rest of the class. After he was discharged he went to work in another part of the FBI as a member of a hostage rescue team.
It's important for Washington, D.C., workers to remember that discrimination based on a disability is illegal, even if it is coming from a government employer. Disability discrimination occurs when an employer refuses to hire, fires, or does not promote an employee based on the fact of their disability. If their disability impacts their ability to do the job, the employer is required to make reasonable accommodations to enable them to complete the work.
The damages that the man was awarded will compensate him for the lost pay and benefits from the time he was fired. He may also be reinstated to the training program pending a decision on that issue by a federal judge, so that he can fulfill his dream of becoming an FBI special agent.
Source: Courthouse News, "Amputee Veteran Nails FBI on Discrimination," Jack Bouboushian, Aug. 12, 2013