Man with no arms sues employer with no heart

Michael Trimble doesn’t have any arms, thanks, he says, to the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl.

But he rides a bike and, thanks to some modifications a friend made, he can carry the bike a short distance.

Now, however, he’s testing the Americans With Disabilities Act because he says his employer — a grocery chain — fired him because he wouldn’t carry the bike up a back flight of stairs at the store when coming to work. He had to ride through the lobby and a pavilion out front.

He says his boss asked him to push the bike across the area out front of the store.

“How can I push my bike?” he tells the Washington Post. “I don’t have any arms.”

His bike is his main source of transportation; he can’t drive. In his job, he had to type with his feet.

“You have a productive employee who’s bringing diversity to your employment base who’s able to do his job,” his attorney tells the Post in an article today. “It doesn’t make sense to get hung up on a side issue about how a person’s going to transport himself to work and back.”

“The Kroger family of stores has a long history of hiring and accommodating people with disabilities,” Keith Dailey, a spokesman for Kroger stores tells the paper. “While we can’t comment on pending litigation, our company values include safety, inclusion and respect and we strive to live up to those values every day.”

  • Al

    Kroger’s must think his riding through the lobby somehow impacts the guest experience. Though I suspect, if you ask most guests, they wouldn’t mind Trimble riding through one bit.

    • Postal Customer

      Hell, I’d high-five him! Oh. Wait.

      • Jerry

        Having watched the video, he’s more than capable of giving you high five.

  • Will

    Crazy that there was no common sense applied here, someone couldn’t help him move the bike? Some rules couldn’t be adjusted? The zero tolerance mentality strikes again.

  • Gary F

    Yes sometimes common sense seems so uncommon.

    After this makes the news I’m presuming he’ll have some new job offers.

  • jon

    I worked at a place (terrible place) in egan once…
    Programmer rode his bike regularly (even in winter, and he was coming from a fair distance… like 25-50 miles as I recall) he chained it up outside, and then changed in the bathroom before going back to the entry to punch in and start working.

    The CEO setup his desk by the entrance (so as to watch when people were coming in and who was leaving early) this meant that a guy in skin tight bicycle shorts walked past his office every day…

    He was told he couldn’t change in the bathrooms any more, because that was time he was supposed to be working… He said that he hadn’t punched in… they mumbled a bit and said “Don’t do it.”

    We all tried encouraged him to simply change outside next to where he chained his bike up (right in front of the CEO’s window) but he opted to keep using the bathroom to change, he was fired… he filed for unemployment and I hear that the judge laughed the company out of court when the challenged saying he was fired with cause… (for like the 3rd or 4th time they were laughed out of court for claiming they fired some one with cause) after that they started writing every one up as often as possible to have documentation for firing people…

    I got written up for asking some one over the phone for their phone number so I could call them back like they had requested (previous person they talked to didn’t take down the number, or call them back…) I put as my employee comments that it was SOP at the company to ask for a phone number, and I took it as a point of pride that I was being acknowledge with this award acknowledging that I was doing my job as directed.

  • John

    I think he probably has a solid case against Kroger. I believe the ADA says that “reasonable accommodation must be made,” or something like that.

    This usually means things like accessible doors, wide hallways, etc. I have a hard time believing the court is not going to see “riding through a pavilion” rather than “carrying a bike up the stairs” as a reasonable accommodation.

    It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

  • X.A. Smith

    Side discussion: How about his awesome cat!

  • MrE85

    Way to win the PR for the week, Kroger! I’m familiar with this store, my uncle worked as their meat buyer for many years.