Because everyone wants to pay to have their hair cut by a blind barber!
Joel Nixon is a barber. He loves cutting hair and takes great pride in what he does.
But when he found out he had Retinitis Pigmentosa and was going blind, his boss decided to let him go. You don’t want a blind man cutting your hair, right?
I guess not because after he was fired, Nixon sued and was awarded $100,000 by the State of Massachusetts because firing him was discrimination. The Boston Herald reports:
He was working for Tony’s Barber Shop in Norton in 2011, but a year later his boss, Tony Morales, discovered his malady, according to the decision by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
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On March 3, 2012, Nixon was working at the shop’s South Easton location when he tripped over a customer’s legs. Later in the day, he tripped over a chair in the waiting room.
“Morales told him to pack up his things and get his wife to take him home,” the MCAD hearing officer wrote. “(Nixon) understood that his employment was being terminated.”
Things fell apart for Nixon after that, he said. He couldn’t find a job nearby, and his wife had a high-risk pregnancy that made it difficult for him to work far from home. He was unemployed for three years, his condo went into foreclosure, and he was forced to apply for food stamps and went to charities for Christmas gifts, he said.
He’s moving his family to a small apartment tomorrow. Nixon also deals with the lingering possibility he may lose his sight forever.
“I could wake up someday and be completely blind, but my goal is to have a nice home with a nice backyard for my son,” Nixon said, fighting back tears. “I’ve never been to Disneyland, and I want to take him. I want to take him before I lose my vision. I’m trying to do the best I can.”
MCAD awarded Nixon $75,000 in lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress in a decision made public yesterday.
Morales, who did not appear at numerous hearings and parted ways with an attorney who was supposed to help him, said Nixon’s entire story is a lie. He said Nixon was an independent contractor, wasn’t able to carry his weight when he was with his shop and wasn’t a licensed barber.
“It’s a bunch of lies. It’s sad that people like Joel try to take advantage of their situation and create false accusations,” Morales said, adding that he would hire an attorney and appeal the decision. “All of this is false accusations.”
Morales no longer owns the Norton shop, but still runs the South Easton business.
An instructor who taught Nixon how to cut hair at the Massachusetts School of Barbering said he was happy to hear that his former pupil came away from the MCAD hearing victorious.
“He was a nice kid,” said Chuck Russian, the school’s co-director. “We were a little concerned when he said he was legally blind, but he did the work, passed the course and passed the state board exam.”
Nixon said he learned how to cut hair from his mother while growing up, using a set of clippers the family bought at Wal-Mart. He fell in love with the trade, “and it became my life’s calling.” Now, his clients ask for him by name.
“I have a following,” he said. “My clients call me the ‘Blind Barber.’ ” Via: DownTrend