Autistic Man Teaches Himself Law, Sues Gym Trainer Who Called Him 'Stupid'

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Autistic Man Teaches Himself Law, Sues Gym Trainer Who Called Him 'Stupid'

An Indian-origin man, who is autistic, successfully sued a UK gym chain for disability discrimination

New Delhi:  An Indian-origin man, who is autistic, has successfully sued a British chain of health clubs that are a part of businessman Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Two years ago, Ketan Aggarwal was repeatedly called "stupid" by a gym trainer in a Virgin Active club spin class. Earlier this month, Mr Aggarwal successfully sued Virgin Active for disability discrimination while representing himself in court.

Mr Aggarwal tells the Daily Mail he spent hours pouring over books at his local library, reading countless articles on discrimination and consulting previous such cases in preparation for his legal battle. His hard work paid off. Virgin Active has been ordered to apologise, pay him costs and compensation and train its staff on equality.

In May 2015, Mr Aggarwal was in a spin class at Virgin Active Stockley Park when he agreed with a fellow gym goer that the music being played was "unmotivating." That opinion apparently earned him the ire of the gym trainer, who "started shouting across the room" at Mr Aggarwal.

"I stayed quiet but it made me feel horrible. He singled me out even though I only agreed with someone else. I believe this is because of my autism," Mr Aggarwal tells the Daily Mail.

According to legal documents, when the class ended, the gym trainer "shouted" at Mr Aggarwal, even calling him "stupid" in front of 30 other people - not once, but twice.

"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," says Mr Aggarwal.

"I'm not a legal professional and I had to do a huge amount of paperwork...It was worth it though. It wasn't about the money, it was about the principle," he adds.

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Mr Aggarwal's legal victory is winning him lots of love on social media.
Virgin Active has been ordered to pay Mr Aggarwal 1,200 British pounds as compensation and costs of 190 pounds, in addition to a written apology.

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