An Indian-origin man in Britain, a fitness enthusiast, didn't quite like the music in his gym class. So he went and complained that the music was not motivating enough. Quite a natural thing to do, you would think.
However, the gym instructor took it personally and reportedly "shouted" at him, twice calling him "stupid" down the microphone in front of 30 people.
This happened in May 2015, when Ketan Aggarwal, a resident of Southall in London, was attending a spin class at his gym.
Two year later, Aggarwal proved that he may be autistic but he was anything but stupid. He studied law, figured out legal minutiae for two years to finally take on the multi-million dollar company in court. He emerged triumphant.
According to a report in The Telegraph, during his class, Aggarwal agreed with a fellow cyclist that the music was too slow. He went and complained, prompting the instructor to apparently yell "don't tell me how to do my job".
"He started shouting across the room and told me my 'opinion was bollocks' in the middle of the class," Aggarwal told The Telegraph. The 30-year-old felt he was singled out because of his autism.
When the gym authorities refused to take any action against the staff, he decided to take the company--Virgin Active-- to court.
Aggarwal borrowed law books from the library and eventually represented himself in court to successfully argue that he had been a victim of disability harassment. The multi-million dollar company was ordered to pay him costs and compensation, apologise and to look into training staff on equality.
"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," Aggarwal told The Daily Mail.
After winning the case, Aggarwal said, "It wasn't about the money, it was about the principle."
The company apologised, saying that they are "committed to reviewing our ongoing training to ensure the experience for all members is of the highest quality."
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