The recent decision from the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) in Nixon v Tony’s Barber Shop has attracted some media coverage, e.g. this story in the Boston Herald and another in the New York Daily News. The MCAD awarded the visually-impaired Joel Nixon $100,000.00 because his employer, Tony’s Barber Shop, fired him after he tripped over a customer’s legs, a chair, and a ladder.
Perhaps the most noteworthy fact for employers is that the respondent, Tony’s Barber Shop, defaulted. At the hearing, there was nobody to advocate for the employer (by raising the possibility of a BFOQ, for example) and the only witness was the complainant himself, Mr. Nixon. The key lesson for employers? Show up!