Soldier Who Lost Hand Wins Discrimination Case Against FBI
In a decision that could have wide-ranging implications for disabled veterans, a federal jury in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday found that the FBI discriminated against Oak Creek native Justin Slaby, who lost his left hand during a military training accident.
The decision means that Slaby, 30, who was stripped of his job as an FBI special agent trainee after officials concluded he could not safely fire a handgun with his prosthesis, will get his job back. He will be the first person with a prosthetic limb to serve as an FBI agent.
In addition, the jury awarded $75,000 in damages to Slaby, an Army veteran whose left hand had to be amputated after a defective stun grenade exploded prematurely in 2004. He also will receive back pay.
During an eight-day trial, Slaby’s attorneys argued that Slaby, who is right-handed, can shoot well with that hand. They contended that FBI trainers were prejudiced against Slaby before he arrived at the academy, that he was subjected to extreme and unfair scrutiny, and that he was held to a standard not applied to other trainees.
Government attorneys countered that FBI trainers did everything they could to accommodate Slaby, but his prosthetic hand made him a danger to himself and other agents if required to fire a gun.