Louisville, Kentucky (AP)
A Kentucky jury awarded $ 450,000 to a man who sued his employer after he asked them not to celebrate his birthday at work – and they did it anyway.
Kevin Burling told his manager at Gravity Diagnostics in Covington in 2019 that celebrating a birthday will cause him tremendous stress.
But the company did not listen to his request, and Berling had a panic attack, according to the Courier Journal. The next day, Berling had another panic attack when his boss punished him for “stealing the joy of colleagues” and “being a little girl,” according to the lawsuit. Berling was fired after the second attack.
Berling claimed in his lawsuit that the company discriminated against him because of his disability and retaliated against him for requiring a reasonable accommodation.
The jury returned the verdict after a two-day trial in Kenton County, which ended in late March. The jury awarded him $ 300,000 for emotional suffering and $ 150,000 for lost earnings.
Company lawyer Catherine Kennedy said she still denies responsibility and uses post-trial options.
Julie Brazil, the company’s founder and chief operating officer, said in an email to the newspaper that “with ever-increasing cases of workplace violence this verdict sets a very dangerous precedent for employers and, most importantly, employees that if physical violence is not happens, violence in the workplace is permissible ”.
Brazil stated that the victims in the case were its employees, not the plaintiff.
Berling’s lawyer, Tony Bucher, said that as soon as the jury met with his client, they realized that the company’s claim that he posed a threat was far-fetched.
Berling told his supervisor that the birthday celebration would bring back bad childhood memories around his parents ’divorce. The controller forgot to pass his request, the company said.
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