A Kentucky man is about to get $450,000 richer after a judge ruled in his favor during a lawsuit against his former employer.
Kevin Berling was an employee at Gravity Diagnostics, a CLIA-certified laboratory located in the Covington area when his co-workers decided to throw him a bash to celebrate his upcoming birthday. However, several days before the party took place, he confided in his manager that enduring such an occasion would cause him intense stress due to some issues suffered during his childhood.
Instead of listening to the employee's request, the company threw him a large get-together anyways, which caused Berling to suffer from an acute panic attack when he fled to his vehicle to seek relief from the commotion.
The next day, he reported the attack to his boss, who immediately scolded him and accused him of "stealing his co-workers' joy and being a little girl". The confrontation caused Berlin to suffer from an additional attack for which he alleges he was subsequently fired.
During his court proceedings, the employee accused the company of directly discriminating against him due to having a disability as well as retaliation in the form of firing him when he sought accommodations.
The jury awarded Mr. Berling, a total of $450,000 in damages with $300,000 being for his emotional distress and the additional $150,000 going towards recouping lost wages.
The company's founder, Julie Brazil advised a reporter via email that the verdict set a dangerous precedent in regards to workplace violence and that the other employees were the victims in the case instead of Berling.