American receives $ 450,000 after an unwanted birthday party sparked a panic attack | Kentucky

A Kentucky man received $ 450,000 in a lawsuit against his former employer after the company ignored his wish not to have a birthday party.

In August 2019, Gravity Diagnostics ignored Kevin Berling’s request not to celebrate his birthday due to his anxiety disorder.

According to Tony Bucher, Berling’s lawyer, Berling spoke with the birthday party organizer about his request not to have a party, but “the person in charge of the birthday party he spoke to forgot about his request. “.

As a result, the company hosted the celebration, in which Berling received a panic attack.

According to Bucher, Berling went to his car, practiced breathing techniques, ate his lunch and then sent an SMS to his manager, upset that his request had been ignored.

The man who scheduled the party, Berling said, “didn’t do it to be mean. She said she would settle down [Berling’s request] and she just forgot. “

The next day, according to Berling’s case, Berling was “confronted and criticized” for his reaction.

“According to my client, [his managers] he started reading him the riot report and accused him of stealing the joy of other colleagues, “Butcher told Link NKY.

According to the case, “this confrontation provoked a new panic attack.”

In the wake of the attack, Bucher said, colleagues asked Berling to stop using coping mechanisms, including “embracing yourself.” When he did not, the staff left.

Butcher said, “The road [they] tell him, they believed he was angry and would probably become violent. “

Berling’s lawsuit states: “At the end of this meeting and because the plaintiff had suffered a panic attack, the plaintiff was sent home from work for the remainder of 8 and 9 August.

Berling apologized for the panic attack. But, according to his case, three days later he received an email from the company informing him that he had been suspended due to the events of the previous week.

According to court documents, the jury awarded Berling $ 450,000, including “$ 120,000 in lost wages and benefits; $ 30,000 in future missed salaries and benefits; and $ 300,000 for past, present, and future mental pain and suffering, mental suffering, shame, humiliation, humiliation, and loss of self-esteem. ”

In a statement, Kenton County Court Judge Patricia Sum said Berling “was able to perform the basic functions of his job with or without reasonable accommodation” but “suffered adverse employment when he was hired due to this disability.”

Julie Brazil, chief operating officer of Gravity Diagnostics, said the verdict set a dangerous precedent for employers and employees that unless physical violence occurs, any other form of violence in the workplace is permissible.

“As an employer who puts the safety of our employees first, we have a zero-tolerance policy and support our decision to dismiss the plaintiff for violating our policy on violence in the workplace,” Brazil told Link NKY.

“My employees were the victims in this case, not the plaintiff.

Brazil has indicated that the company will appeal.

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