Autistic Man Named 'Stupid' In Spin Class Wins Discrimination Law Case
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When you're facing off against a massive multi-national company, it's hard to believe that you'll win that David and Goliath match.
But Ketan Aggarwal showed the world that enough time, patience and diligence can pay off in your favour. The 30-year-old autistic man won a court battle last year against a gym who branded him 'stupid'...and he even represented himself.
Ketan was called out by staff at a Virgin Active club spin class in Uxbridge - and he took them all the way to court after learning law in his local library.
It all began when Ketan, and another cyclist, agreed that the music was too slow for the routine, prompting the instructor to yell: "Don't tell me how to do my job."
It was the only time the spin class leader shouted at him, twice calling him 'stupid' in front of 30 people. Spin classes are not easy at the best of times, this can only have made it harder for Ketan.
Despite Ketan's complaint to Virgin Active, the company did not take any action against the employee and it was at that point that Ketan decided to go up against the law - suing for disability discrimination.
He works as an administrator, but borrowed books from the library, found online articles on discrimination, and consulted previous cases to prepare.
Two years later and he was ready for the challenge.
It usually takes three years at university, one at law school and then two years as a trainee to become a qualified lawyer.
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Ketan won the case and Virgin Active was ordered to pay him costs, compensation and apologise.
He remained humble in his victory: "He called me stupid twice. 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.
Ketan said his diagnosis was delayed in autism, not finding out until his adult years. But he always described himself as 'socially awkward'.
So for two years' hard work and study he now has £1,200 compensation, £190 in costs and a written apology.
Further to this the judgement gave Virgin Active some further advice, and he said: "It is ordered that the defendant considers amending its equality training to staff and consultants and do consider amending its joining application form so non-physical conditions are included."
He concluded: "It was worth it though. It wasn't about the money it was about the principle."
Sometimes David can win against Goliath in the real world.