Legally blind barber awarded $100k for wrongful termination
A legally blind barber was awarded $100,000 by a Massachusetts commission against discrimination after it says he was wrongly fired.
Joel Nixon had been working for Tony's Barber Shop in Norton for a year before his boss discovered that he has retinitis pigmentosa, which affects his peripheral vision and makes it hard for him to see at night.
The 29-year-old man has been declared legally blind by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, and Nixon said there's a possibility he may lose his sight forever, but Nixon said it hasn't affected his work.
Barber shop owner Tony Morales fired him in 2012 after he tripped over a customer's legs and then later that day tripped over a chair in the waiting room, Nixon said.
Morales disputes Nixon's account, saying Nixon wasn't a licensed barber and simply wasn't pulling his weight in the shop.
Morales said he plans to appeal the state's Friday decision, which awarded Nixon $75,000 in lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress.
Nixon said he's still cutting hair for loyal customers — who call him the "Blind Barber."