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Blind barber wins $100,000 lawsuit for being fired from barber shop for being blind

By Mason White 5:59 PM November 9, 2015
“Blind Barber” Joel Nixon 

By: Feng Qian
A man who is blind, sued his employer for wrongful termination after he was fired from his job as a barber.

Joel Nixon of Boston, Massachusetts, is losing his eyesight and is legally blind. However, he claims that when it comes to hairdressing, he is an artist and he can do it despite his poor eyesight.

Nixon was awarded $100,000 after the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) found that he was wrongly fired.

Nixon, who has been a barber for men for many years, said: “When you’re in my chair, I don’t let you out until you’re satisfied. My vision does not compromise my ability to do my job.”

Nixon, 29, has been diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. He worked for Tony Barber Shop in Norton for one year before his boss Tony Morales, discovered his illness and he was fired, according to the MCAD.

Morales learned of the disability after Nixon tripped over a client’s leg and later in the day, tripped over a chair in the waiting room.

Nixon was fired and he was unable to find another job as his wife had a high-risk pregnancy that made it difficult for him to work far from home.

He was unemployed for three years, and his apartment went into foreclosure. He was forced to apply for government assistance.

Nixon said that he can one day wake up and be completely blind. For now, he said he is still cutting hair for loyal customers who call him the “Blind Barber.”

The MCAD awarded Nixon $75,000 in lost wages and $25,000 for emotional distress.

Morales defended himself and said that Nixon was an independent contractor, and he was unable to carry his weight when he was with his shop. Morales was not a licensed barber.

Norton said that he will hire a new attorney to appeal the decision.