Amputee Veteran Nails|FBI on Discrimination

     (CN) – The FBI must pay $75,000 to Iraq veteran it kicked out of training camp because of concerns about his ability to shoot with a prosthetic hand, a jury ruled.
     Justin Slaby, 30, served with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, and was injured in 2004 when a defective stun grenade prematurely detonated in his left hand.
     After doctors amputated the hand, Slaby received a prosthesis.
     He left the Army in 2005 and went to college at night to pursue his dream of becoming an FBI agent. The bureau offered him a special agent position in 2009, and Slaby reported for duty on Jan. 30, 2011, for basic training in Quantico, Va.
     Slaby claimed he was nevertheless “treated by the training staff as an outsider,” and forced to complete a number of other tests that other trainees were not required to perform.
     “Slaby developed a technique to shoot five rounds with his non-dominant [left] hand,” but the “FBI told him that it did not approve of the manner in which he could shoot with his left hand, and ordered him to shoot only with his right hand,” according to the complaint.
     Although FBI instructor Nathan Williams testified that Slaby was a “top-tier” student in firearms classes, the FBI discharged him because he could not handle a gun well enough with his prosthetic hand.
     Accurate shooting with a nondominant hand is not a required skill of FBI agents, but they must be able to shoot with their nondominant hand in case their other hand is injured in a fight.
     The FBI contended that Slaby’s prosthesis was unsafe, as it could accidentally bump the trigger.
     Last week, a federal jury in Alexandria revived Slaby’s dream, finding that the FBI wrongly ejected the veteran from training camp, and awarded him $75,000 in damages.
     John Griffin, one of Slaby’s lawyers, called the case historic in an interview with the Washington Post.
     “A jury has now spoken and said people should be evaluated on their abilities and not on their appearances and not on what happened to them during a war,” Griffin said.
     At a hearing this week, a federal judge will decide whether Slaby, who now works for the FBI’s hostage-rescue team, should be reinstated to the FBI academy for training as a special agent.

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