According to The Guardian, a Kentucky man has been awarded $450,000 in a lawsuit against his former employer, after the company threw him a birthday party that he didn’t want.
In August 2019, the medical laboratory Gravity Diagnostics ignored Kevin Berling’s request to not celebrate his birthday, due to his anxiety disorder.
Berling’s lawyer, Tony Bucher, said his client told his company that he has anxiety and did not want to have a birthday party, however, they “forgot” about his request.
So when he walked into a surprise birthday party, he suffered from a panic attack.
According to Bucher, Berling went to his car to practice breathing techniques and eat his lunch, and he texted his manager that he was mad about the party. According to the lawsuit, Berling was then “confronted and criticized” the next day for his reaction.
“According to my client, (his managers) started reading him the riot act and accused him of stealing other co-workers’ joy.”
That confrontation led to another panic attack in the office.
“They way (they) say it, they believed he was enraged and possibly about to get violent.”
The lawsuit noted that because of the confrontation and panic attacks, Berling was sent home from work for the next to days, and even though he apologized, he received an email from the company saying he was fired.
Court documents state that he received a total of $450,000, including “$120,000 in lost wages and benefits; $30,000 in future lost wages and benefits; and $300,000 for past, present, and future mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification and loss of self-esteem.”
However, Julie Brazil, chief operating officer of Gravity Diagnostics, said that her employees were the victims, and not Berling:
“As an employer who puts our employee safety first, we have a zero-tolerance policy and we stand by our decision to terminate the plaintiff for his violation of our workplace violence policy.
My employees were the victims in this case, not the plaintiff.”
Maybe you just shouldn’t have thrown the guy a birthday party Julie…