Tourette Syndrome In The Workforce

The ability of an individual with a disability to function successfully in the work force is dependent on the life skills that the individual has attained in their preparation for the changes from school to employment. A large number of individuals with learning disabilities are unable to find employment after their education is complete and most earn very low salaries. This is not a result of the students’ inability to perform a job function, in fact, these individuals do possess the ability to live and work in the general community. However, they must receive life skills instruction if they are to be successful at their employment to keep their jobs.

Three major life skills areas are daily living, personal and social skills and occupational skills. However, say if one's learning disability has a direct impact upon an individual's social and occupational skills; regardless if they have great life skills? For instance, in Michigan in a Court of Appeals a case was appealed regarding Karl Petzold, 22, dismissal from work. Karl had worked at a Farmer Jack grocery store for 10 months but Karl suffered from coprolalia, a rare symptom of Tourette's that causes him to utter obscenities and racial epithets, especially when he experiences stress. Unfortunately Karl was fired after customers complained due to his racial and loud outbursts.

Often times one does not think of a tic or a condition such as this that could forever change one's life style. The Court denied Karl's appeal on the grounds of discrimination and indicated that with a condition such as his, he should not be in a line of work that deals with customers or customer service.

Created by: Danielle Foard

The issue may not yet be wrapped up yet, as Petzold's attorney has vowed to take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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