Kentucky jury awards $450,000 to employee who declined birthday party

A Kentucky jury has awarded a man $450,000 who sued his employer after he asked them not to celebrate his birthday at work — and they did it anyway.

Kevin Berling told his manager at Gravity Diagnostics in Covington in 2019 that a birthday celebration would cause him immense stress.

But the company didn’t heed his request, and Berling suffered a panic attack, the Courier Journal reported. The next day Berling had another panic attack when his supervisor chastised him for “stealing his co-workers'” joy and “being a little girl,” according to a lawsuit. Berling was fired after the second attack.

Berling alleged in his lawsuit the company discriminated against him based on a disability and retaliated against him for demanding a reasonable accommodation to it.

The jury returned the verdict after a two-day trial in Kenton County that ended in late March. The jury awarded him $300,000 for emotional distress and $150,000 in lost wages.


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