Fired for Not Looking Upbeat

     LAS CRUCES, N.M. (CN) – A man with Bell’s palsy sued a behavioral health center, claiming it fired him because his medical condition “would prevent him from being ‘upbeat and positive.'”
     Bell’s palsy, or idiopathic facial paralysis, causes muscle weakness on one side of the face, which can droop. David Linares says he was hired as clinical director for Gila Behavioral Health Services without a face-to-face meeting.
     When he met with defendant company owners John Dunne and Patricia Dahlin, he says, they “expressed their discomfort with his medical condition and the fact that they did not want him working with children, which is the population GBHS serves. They claimed his medical condition would prevent him from being ‘upbeat and positive.'”
     He was “indefinitely suspended” after his first week on the job, and not even paid for that week, Linares says.
     He sued the company and its owners in Dona Ana Court for unpaid wages and statutory and punitive damages for human rights violations, disability discrimination, conversion of unpaid wages, and costs.
     He is represented by Hope Eckert of Albuquerque.

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