Couple Claims Wal Mart Violated Americans With Disabilities Act By Firing Disabled Man Matt Wood

| by Jonathan Wolfe

Until last Monday, Matt Wood was a greeter at a Wal Mart in Durango, Colorado. But Wood, who is mentally handicapped, was fired last week with no warning. According to a report from the Durango Herald, Wal Mart may have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing him without first consulting with his representation.

In 2005, Wood was a computer science student at Utah Valley University. That fall, a severe car crashed left him in vegetative state. Wood eventually returned from the vegetative state, but the crash left him with severe brain damage. He had been married to his wife, Jessica Wood, for 10 months at the time of the crash.

Wood was unable to finish school. In 2008, he took a job as a greeter at Wal Mart. Last week he came home and told Jessica that he’d been fired.

“I was completely blown away and shocked when he got home on Monday and told me he didn’t have a job anymore,” she said. “To him, it felt very personal and disappointing, because he does try and loves his job.”

Wood was fired for not clocking in on time after lunch breaks. But Wood, along with his wife and attorney, are protesting his firing, saying that Wal Mart is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide “reasonable accommodations” to disabled employees.

Jessica Wood and Wal Mart managers had previously worked out an agreement in which management would contact her if any problems involving Matt’s performance in the workplace came up.

“The two biggest things that we wanted were that he be able to revolve his work schedule around the bus, which they were very good at,” she said. “And that I, as his wife and representative, be notified whenever anything needed to be discussed regarding him.”

Jessica says she was not contacted by anyone from Wal Mart about Matt’s late clock-ins. Wal Mart representative Kayla Whaling says the company is looking into the firing.

“We are currently looking into the situation further, and we’ll handle it appropriately once we know more,” Whaling said.

Matt and Jessica have two sons. Jessica says Matt lost eligibility for disabled income because of his work at Wal Mart. With no disability income or income from Wal Mart, Jessica says the couple will struggle to provide for their family and make payments on their house. 

Sources: Durango Herald, Huffington Post