Former Burger King employee who was fired because she had to use trachea tube to breathe at work, was awarded $2 million by the jury in a lawsuit against the company. According to the court reports, the employee was fired solely because she had to use the trachea tube at work.
A year before she worked in Burger King, Ashley Merard of Orlando, Florida suffered heavy injuries in a car accident that made her use a trachea tube so she can breathe.
Merard informed the general manager who was taking the interview about her health condition and the tube was even visible during the interview. The manager didn’t mind and hired Merard who started working the next day in one of their Orlando area stores.
When “higher management official” learned about the case, they came directly to the store to check on Merard and fired her immediately, telling her she has to go because of the tube. Merard was working in the franchise for only six weeks.
According to the lawsuit, her contract was terminated in August 2017 “for no other reason given other than her disability,” which sought damages for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“You can’t tell her to take the tube out. She’d die,” Merard’s attorney David Barszcz said. “It’s a question of right and wrong, and that’s wrong.”
The exact location of the store was not identified as new management took over the store since the start of the lawsuit. It was only said that it was in Orlando area.
The jury on May 4 awarded $2 million in punitive damages, as well as $30,000 for emotional pain and mental anguish, and $15,519.60 for lost wages, court records show.
Magic Burgers plans to appeal the verdict, according to one of its attorneys, Jesse Drawas.
Merard, now 21-year-old, is a student and part-time employed.