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Handicapped man fired for limping, typing too slowly

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in Firing,Human Resources

A former employee in Bank of America’s (BoA) mortgage office in Pittsburgh is suing the bank, claiming he was fired because of his disability. Daniel, whose right hand, arm and leg were severely injured in a car accident several years ago, says he lost his job earlier this year when his manager complained that he typed and limped too slowly.

Daniel was originally hired by Merrill Lynch, which was bought out by BoA in 2008. Despite his injuries, Daniel fared well working for Merrill Lynch. His bosses readily accommodated his disability with specialized equipment. He earned frequent bonuses for his productivity discussing mortgages on the phone with customers.

According to Daniel’s ADA lawsuit, however, BoA managers felt differently about his disability. They complained about his productivity, labeled him a poor performer and transferred him to a less favorable shift with fewer opportunities for bonuses and advancement.

When Daniel asked for further accommodations to improve his productivity, he claims, the requests were not only denied, but ridiculed. One manager said BoA didn’t have “ADA rules.” He says he was told that accommodating him would not be “fair to people with two hands.”

Bank managers also complained about Daniel’s late returns from lunch. He claims that when the nearest break room was full, he was forced to go to a different floor for lunch. Because he limped on his injured leg, he took longer to get back to his desk. One day, he was two minutes late and his manager fired him.

Daniel’s EEOC lawsuit alleges the bank refused to consider any possible accommodations. He seeks unspecified back pay, front pay and compensatory and punitive damages.

Note: The plaintiff’s attorney has to be licking his chops at the prospect of taking this case to a jury, which may wonder how a national bank thought it didn’t have to obey the ADA.

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