Man wins $450,000 lawsuit after employer threw him a birthday party he didn't ask for
He was accused of “being a little girl” who was “stealing his co-workers’” joy
A man from Kentucky who lost his job after his colleagues threw an office birthday party he didn't ask for has won $450,000 for his ordeal.
Kevin Berling started working as a lab technician for Gravity Diagnostics back in 2018. He asked the company not to put on any celebrations for fear it could trigger his anxiety, indy100 reports.
Despite this, his co-workers went ahead and threw a party for him in August 2019. Berling suffered a panic attack as a result, and had to spend his lunchtime in his car, the court filing said.
Berling had another panic attack the next day, after his supervisor allegedly accused him of “being a little girl” who was “stealing his co-workers’” joy.
His behaviour when he was having the panic attacks was perceived by his employer as being angry and violent. So, a few days later, they fired him.
Berling took the company to court, alleging disability discrimination and a failure of his employer to make reasonable accommodations.
Tony Bucher, Mr Berling's attorney, said Berling wasn't being violent. He said he was doing what was necessary to calm himself down after the ordeal.
The employee's lawyers claimed the dismissal meant he missed out on pay rises of up to 300 per cent following the company’s growth in the pandemic.
On Friday, a jury unanimously agreed with Berling's arguments, and he was awarded him $120,000 in lost wages and benefits, $30,000 in future wages, and $300,000 for “past, present and future mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification, and loss of self-esteem”.
We'd take that over a birthday party any day...
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