Seattle man awarded $5 million for wrongful termination after cancer surgery

Seattle man awarded $5 million for wrongful termination after cancer surgery
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A Washington man was awarded nearly $5 million by a federal jury in what would constitute a major victory under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The man, Troy Coachman, sued for wrongful termination under the federal law after losing his job following a cancer diagnoses that led to the surgical removal of his vocal box, The Seattle Times reported from court filings.

Coachman had worked for 14 years for the Mercedes-Benz of Seattle dealership as finance director. After undergoing a laryngectomy that led to the removal of his vocal chords, doctors provided him with a prosthetic speaking device. 

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Coachman was cleared to return to work and was added back to the schedule following his recovery. 

But according to the court filings reviewed by the Times, the owner of the Mercedes dealership decided after an interaction with Coachman that his new voice "would be unappealing to customers."

Mercedes-Benz of Seattle declined to comment to the newspaper.

The owner allegedly told Coachman’s managers not to discuss his employment status with him and fired Coachman over email, The Times reported from court documents.

Coachman filed a lawsuit 2017 claiming that his former boss violated both the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A federal jury granted Coachman a $4.9 million settlement on Thursday.

Coachman “is the same person he was before he had cancer and all he wanted was a chance to prove himself,” said one of his attorneys, Beth Bloom. “Employers have a duty to protect employees from discrimination and we certainly hope other employers will take this verdict to heart.”