Troy Coachman had worked for a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Seattle for fourteen years when he received a cancer diagnosis and underwent a laryngectomy at the end of 2014. In early 2015, he was cleared by his doctors to return to work as finance director for the dealership. As a result of his surgery, Coachman could not speak and had to breathe through a hole in his neck. He communicated through a speaking device.
Prior to returning to work, Coachman went to the dealership and ran into its owner, Al Monjazeb. Apparently, Monjazeb decided Coachman could not work after that meeting. He refused to meet with Coachman after that and instructed his managers not to discuss Coachman’s employment status with him when he came back to work in January 2015. Coachman was then fired by email and told that his voice box would be “unappealing to customers.”
In Coachman’s subsequent lawsuit, he argued that Monjazeb’s actions violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Washington Law Against Discrimination. A federal jury awarded him nearly $5 million in early fall 2018. This award is one of the largest disability verdicts in recent years.