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Gym Staff Called Man with Autism “Stupid,” So He Taught Himself Law and Sued Them

In May of 2015, Ketan Aggarwal, a resident of West London, was participating in a club spin class at a gym called Virgin Atlantic. A cyclist next to him said the music being used was too slow and unmotivating. Aggarwal agreed, causing the class instructor to viciously lash out at him. The instructor allegedly said “Don’t tell me how to do my job” and later shouted at Aggarwal, calling him “stupid”—not once, but twice—in front of the entire, 30-person class.

The worst part? The instructor allegedly knew Aggarwal was on the spectrum—leading Aggarwal to believe he was being harassed on account of his disorder. When the 30-year-old Londoner complained to management about the incident, however, no action was taken against the employee.

So Aggarwal took matters into his own hands in the most amazing way ever: he studied up on law and then sued the gym for disability discrimination, representing himself in the case.

But that’s not even the best part. The best part was he won. He was one man pitted against the legal team of a company worth a billion British pounds. And he won.

(Take that, mean instructor!)

As a result, Virgin Atlantic was ordered to cough up 1200 pounds in compensation as well as 190 pounds in costs. In addition, the court ordered the gym to give Aggarwal a written apology and suggested they implement an equality training program for employees. Oh, and the instructor was finally fired.

Judge hitting gavel with paper at wooden table closeup

If that isn’t the most satisfying ending ever, I don’t know what is.

It took two years and lots of hard work for Aggarwal to get to that point. “I had to live in the library, picking up law from the books, and getting templates for submitting paperwork from the internet,” he said.

And though he did receive money from the win, he says that was not his goal or his point. “It was about the principle,” he said.

He also said, “It felt amazing to win.”

Well, sir, it feels amazing to read about your win. A huge congratulations to you!

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A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.