When an Indian-origin autistic man based in Britain was working out in his gym, his trainer insulted him in front of a group of 30 people. The gym authorities refused to take any action against the offending trainer, but the man stood up for himself by learning the law and then successfully suing the company.
Ketan Aggarwal is a 30-year-old man who was taking a spin class at Virgin Active (a chain of health clubs part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group), when the trainer called him stupid twice. Chagrined, he decided to take on the gym after it failed to address the matter properly.
Rather than hiring a lawyer, he spent two years studying law while also maintaining a full time job, in order to fight the case himself.
He won the case and the court ordered the gym to pay him £1,200 (₹98,020.12). The gym also formally issued an apology to Ketan.
Photo source: Facebook
But for Ketan, the issue was never about the money but rather principles. He spoke to Daily Mail about his preparation saying, “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 had to live in the library, picking up law from the books, and getting templates for submitting paperwork from the internet.”
Ketan was diagnosed as autistic as an adult and says he finds himself feeling awkward in social situations. But thanks to his fortitude, the gym has now announced that it will be reviewing its policies to make its environment more inclusive.
*Correction: An earlier version of this article listed Ketan Aggarwal’s name as Nitin Aggarwal. We regret the error.