A jury has awarded nearly a half-million dollars to a Texas man who said he was harassed and wrongly fired from his job at the nation’s largest grocery chain because of his disabilities.
Karl Tipple, 25, sued Kroger claiming that a store manager at the Plano, Texas location where he worked repeatedly called him a “retarded idiot” who was “too stupid to live.” Tipple said that the harassment occurred for nearly a year before he was fired in December 2011.
Now a federal jury has awarded Tipple more than $450,000 in damages.
“This was clearly a case where a high-functioning person with disabilities was victimized by his manager with the support of Kroger higher management,” Joe Kendall of the Kendall Law Group, which represented Tipple, said in a statement. “After he reported the abuse, Kroger refused to investigate his claims, and instead fired him.”
Tipple, who has multiple learning disabilities and graduated from a high school special education program, had worked for Kroger for nearly five years before he was transferred to a new store in November 2010 where he was assigned to work as an assistant bakery manager. But, despite previously receiving high marks for his work, Tipple said he was quickly demoted to a part-time position.
Kroger representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the case but told WFAA in Dallas that they are “disappointed in the outcome of the trial, and are evaluating all their options, including an appeal.”