birthday cake

Jury Awards $450,000 To Employee Who Declined Birthday Party

Live and let live- that should be the motto. But usually, people are uncaring about what others feel. Even if they are thinking that they are doing a great job. For example, Kevin Berling didn’t want to celebrate his birthday in his office. No harm done, right? Wrong! He was then fired from the job. He didn’t want a party because he was prone to stress and panic attacks. And for therefore creating a ‘scene’, he was fired from his job. Of course, justice prevailed later. A jury in Kentucky awarded the man $450,000 after he sued his employer. 

A Birthday Party That Leads To A Lawsuit- Now That’s One To Remember!

Even after repeatedly asking them not to host a birthday party for him, the company hosted the party. This led to the man suffering a panic attack. Rather than tone down the entire event, people chastised him for being a little girl. He soon had another panic attack and was laid off. Berling then went on to sue the company for ignoring his disability. He also demanded a hefty accommodation for the mental trauma caused. The jury ended favorably for him- after a two-day trial. The man received $300,000 for his emotional distress and $150,00 in lost wages. 

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The company, interestingly, still denied liability. After this, they were looking up post-trial options. Who knew a birthday party could cause such a kerfuffle? Julie Brazil, the founder of Gravity Diagnostics- where Berling previously worked- had her own statement in place. “With ever-increasing incidents of workplace violence, this verdict sets a very dangerous precedent for employers and most importantly employees that unless physical violence actually occurs, workplace violence is acceptable.” She claimed that her company was the real victim, not the plaintiff. 

Ironically, Berling had informed his supervisor about his position regarding his birthday party. He had made it very clear that he didn’t want it. His own childhood trauma surrounding his parent’s divorce would crop up. At the end of the day, no one wants to suffer a trauma on their own birthday.

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  1. Jury Awards $450,000 To Employee Who Declined Birthday Party.” Huff Post. April 18, 2022.
Mayukh Saha
Freelance Writer
Mayukh is a Content Marketer and Social Media Manager with over 5 years of experience in the industry. Mayukh believes in the power of content; how it can positively impact lives, scale businesses and touch people. In his spare time Mayukh likes to read about latest tech trends and loves to travel in the nature. You can reach him at [email protected]
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