A man was awarded nearly a half-million dollars after being fired from a job where he asked his boss not to throw him a birthday bash.

In 2019, Kevin Berling worked at Gravity Diagnostics in Covington for about 10 months. As he suffers from panic attacks and anxiety disorders, he asked his employer not to celebrate his birthday as it normally does for its staff, reported Local12. But the office manager forgot his request and still held a birthday party for Berling, according to a lawsuit filed in Kenton County.

The lawsuit alleged that “being the center of attention is a source of great stress for plaintiff." He had reportedly warned a senior that a birthday bash could trigger bad childhood memories from his parents’ divorce.

When the party happened, it triggered a panic attack after which he left and spent his lunch hour in his car. The next day, his bosses held a meeting with Berling about the incident, triggering another attack. Then company managers told him to leave for the weekend and then subsequently fired him. They told him that they were worried about him being angry and possibly becoming violent.

Berling's lawyer Tony Bucher said that his client wasn’t being violent, but was using coping techniques to calm himself down, and that the company apparently was more concerned about others than his client's well-being. Bucher said that they started giving Berling a "pretty hard time for his response to the birthday celebration, actually accusing him of stealing his co-workers' joy."

He said that Berling suffered further panic attacks since the incident, but is in therapy and doing well, reported New York Daily News. Bucher said that taking the legal route "was a big step for someone who doesn't like that kind of attention to stand up in front of 12 jurors and stand up for himself." He credited his client for overcoming his anxiety and testifying in front of 12 jurors after which he was awarded $300,000 for mental anguish as part of a $450,000 ruling.

But the judgement isn't being accepted by Gravity Diagnostics that plans to fight it. Company founder Julie Brazil said that the jury verdict reached in late March set a “very dangerous” precedent” that “unless physical violence actually occurs, workplace violence is acceptable.”

Birthday celebration
Birthday celebration Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.