Autistic Man Gets Schools Virgin Active Instructor Who Called Him 'Stupid'
An Autistic man who was called "stupid" by a spin class instructor has successfully sued the gym for disability discrimination.
Ketan Aggarwal, 30, defended himself in court and defeated Virgin Active's legal team after dedicating two years of his time to studying law.
His perseverance shows he's anything but "stupid."
The distressing incident happened back in May 2015, when Aggarwal was taking a spin class and agreed with a fellow gym-goer the music in the class was too slow.
The instructor responded by yelling at him to not "tell me how to do my job."
When the class was over, the instructor again "shouted" at him and called the man "stupid" twice over the microphone in front of 30 other people, according to legal documents.
Aggarwal complained to other staff at Virgin Active, but they refused to punish the instructor.
So, Aggarwal took the company to court.
Not only that, but he worked his ass off to single-handedly defend himself.
Aggarwal, who is from Southall, London, borrowed books from the library, scoured the internet for articles on discrimination and studied related precedents to prepare for court.
He represented himself against Virgin Active's lawyer and argued he was the victim of disability harassment.
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 against a solicitor of a billion-pound company. It was two years coming and it was hard work. I'm not a legal professional and I had to do a huge amount of paperwork. I had to live in the library, picking up law from the books and getting templates for submitting paperwork from the internet. It was worth it though. It wasn't about the money, it was about the principal.
Virgin Active was subsequently ordered to apologize, pay the man costs and compensation and look into training their staff on equality.
According to MailOnline, Aggarwal said "it felt amazing to win."
When someone discriminates someone with a mental disability, they don't think they are going to pick up law, submit a legal claim and then successfully argue it in a court of law.
Aggarwal definitely succeeded in proving people wrong on that front.
A Virgin Active spokesperson responded to the incident in a statement,
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.