• Man says he lost job at Red Cross over disability

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    ATLANTA - An Atlanta man claims he was fired from the American Red Cross because of his disability.
     
    The attorney for Luis Gutierrez told Channel 2’s Amy Napier Viteri that he sent a letter to the American Red Cross of Atlanta saying they plan to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against the organization.
     
    Gutierrez told Viteri that he is permanently hard of hearing and says he was harassed by coworkers and terminated due to discrimination.
     
    The Red Cross said they are an equal opportunity employer.
     
    “I was struggling a lot and sometimes when I asked the question over again they get mad at me,” Gutierrez said.
     
    Gutierrez was born hard of hearing. He says during his time working for the American Red Cross of Atlanta, coworkers and supervisors often became frustrated with his impairment.
     
    He believes that's why he got a termination letter from the organization on March 20.
     
    “He went to see his audiologist and as a result he was terminated,” said attorney Michael Wallace, who is representing  Gutierrez.
     
    The letter said Gutierrez was terminated because of attendance, a day after missing work to get his hearing aid fixed.
     
    Wallace said he's unaware of any attendance complaints. He says the 22-year-old worked for about a year as a driver for the organization's mobile unit.
     
    “Quite frankly he's the type of person we should be encouraging and not putting hurdles in their way,” Wallace said.
     
    Gutierrez claims coworkers often became frustrated if he couldn't hear them. 
     
    “I just let people do whatever they want to me and I just focus on my own job,” Guitierrez told Viteri.
     
    He says he's worked hard to succeed with his disability and showed Viteri medals from his high school band in Kennesaw and certificates for academic achievement.
     
    Wallace sent a letter to the Red Cross letting them know they plan to file suit pending the outcome of an EEOC investigation.
     
    A representative for the Red Cross sent Viteri a statement saying, “While the American Red Cross cannot speak to individual employee circumstances, we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.”
     
    “I’ll be honest with you, it is really hard for me because who is going to defend us? Nobody,” Guitierrez said.
     
    Gutierrez said he wants the Red Cross to know he appreciates everything they have done for him.
     
    At this point he said he just wants to get copies of his certifications for training he completed so he can find another job.


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