April 17, 2022

A judge awarded $450K to an employee who didn’t want an office birthday party!


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A jury in the state of Kentucky awarded a hefty $450,000 to an employee who sued his company after he asked not to have an office birthday party, but they still did.

We are talking about Mr. Kevin Berling who requested his boss at Gravity Diagnostics company in the city of Covington during the year of 2019, arguing that a birthday party would cause him a lot of stress. But, the company ignored his request and Kevin had a panic attack when he arrived during lunchtime and they surprised him with a party at the cafeteria!

The next day he had another panic attack when his supervisor punished him for “stealing the joy” from his peers and behaving “like a girl,” according to the lawsuit.

This case has been dragging on since August 2019, but it was only on March 31 that the jury decided that Berling suffered an “Adverse Employment Action” due to his anxiety disorder according to court documents.

The jury returned a verdict after a 2-day trial awarding him $300,000 in emotional distress and $150,000 in lost wages.

On the company side, attorney Katherine Kennedy continues to appeal her liability, seeking post-trial options.

Julie Brazil, the company’s founder and COO, said in an email statement to the newspaper that “with incidents of workplace violence on the rise, this verdict sets a very dangerous precedent for employers and, what is more importantly, for employees that, unless physical violence actually occurs, workplace violence is acceptable.”

Brazil said the company is challenging the verdict based on “a discovery of jury misconduct that violated the trial judge’s orders, and then an appeal if necessary.”

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