By Cleve Bryan
CLARKSBORO, N.J. (CBS) — Abigail McManus is just like any other 19-year-old college student with one exception, she was born with dwarfism and stopped growing at less than four feet tall.
Using a stool is part of her normal routine, but McManus says height never stopped her.
Two years ago she landed her first job at the Heritage’s Dairy Store in Clarksboro.
“I went in, had the interview, he hired me right there on the spot.”
Everything seemed to be going great until her first day of training. She says two hours in to a group session the training coordinator singled out her out and told McManus to go in her office.
She says, “Before I had even shut the door she was saying, basically you should have never been hired in the first place.”
On the verge of tears, she says the woman made her perform tasks throughout a mock store trying to find things she was too short to do.
“And she was like ‘oh I know what you can’t do’ and then she said ‘you wouldn’t be able to reach the meat slicer.’ And I was like well yeah that’s where stool would come in handy.”
But she says she wasn’t given the chance to use a stool and was fired on the spot.
“It was pretty humiliating, having to go back into the room and having people see that I’m leaving.”
After months of feeling embarrassed, McManus decided what happened to her shouldn’t be brushed aside. Attorney Michael Magnogna says a mediation session with Heritage’s last year was unsuccessful, so this week he filed a lawsuit under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Magnogna says, “I mean they made it very clear the way they treated her that it had nothing to do with anything except her size which is wrong, under the law it’s discrimination.”
CBS 3’s Cleve Bryan tried to talk with management at the store but was referred to the company headquarters. His call was not returned.
McManus says, “Really until that I never felt like I wasn’t capable of doing something because I’m little.”
She says the people that work in the store in Clarksboro were nice to her, but she’s not filing the lawsuit to work here, but because she says what happened wasn’t right and she doesn’t want it to happen to anybody else.