Wednesday, May 26, 1999
Torres reinstated asBy Lori Tighe
coach of St. Louis
St. Louis wrestling coach Alfred Torres Jr., who lost his position because of a mysterious vision ailment, won his job back and $10,000 in a disability settlement announced today with the private school.
"Yes, I'm happy," said Torres. "I think we were able to work out a settlement to our benefit."
The school's athletic director, Cal Lee, released Torres from his head coach position in 1996 after he returned from his last laser eye surgery on the mainland to correct a loss of vision.
He had multiple laser surgeries, including one that peeled back blood vessels behind one retina. But doctors were never able to diagnose the problem. Torres has vision in one eye and reduced sight in the other, and the problem has stabilized, he said.
Torres filed his lawsuit in September 1998, alleging that the school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to renew his contract as head wrestling coach because of the vision problems. He maintained his teaching position at St. Louis.
"It's a learning experience," said St. Louis Principal Burton Tomita. "We are happy Mr. Torres is teaching full time and is a part of the wrestling staff."
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the $10,000 would cover Torres' lost pay and other damages. He was reinstated to the position of wrestling coordinator.
The school also agreed to train its top managers in their obligations to employees with disabilities, according to the EEOC.