Former DaimlerChrysler Worker Sues On Discrimination
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 7, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA--A former DaimlerChrysler foundry technician is suing the company, alleging that it discriminated against him under the Americans with Disabilities Act when it fired him after he became blind, the Indianapolis Star reported.
A veteran of the Vietnam War, 53-year-old Lee Martin Sr. began losing his sight in 1980 and became completely blind in 1999. He worked for the automaker from 1993 -- even functioning as a safety coordinator of his department.
The company fired Martin in 2002 citing safety concerns. Martin met with company officials in December 2004 to demonstrate that he could work safely as a filter operator. However, according to court records, the company refused on grounds that his disability made him unable to perform any identified job without presenting a threat to his own safety.
"Whether they had legitimate safety concerns or not, they just stopped listening," said Martin's attorney Scott LaBarre, who is also president of the National Association of Blind Lawyers. LaBarre said Martin identified several jobs he could perform, but that DaimlerChrysler failed to approve any of them.
"And they just closed the door on Lee Martin," LaBarre said.
Martin is suing in federal court for back pay. His case is scheduled to go before a federal jury next week.
Martin said this case is not just for himself, but also for others who face discrimination based on disability.
"It far exceeds Lee Martin," he said. "My voice is for others.''
"Blind man sues ex-employer (Indianapolis Star)