Throwing an unwanted office birthday party for an employee in Kentucky caused the celebrated man to have a panic attack — and cost the company $450,000 in a lawsuit settlement. The employee, Kevin Berling, had asked his company, medical laboratory Gravity Diagnostics, to ignore his birthday, which would aggravate his anxiety disorder. But the person in charge of birthday celebrations forgot. And things only escalated after Berling's party-induced panic attack.
From The Guardian:
The person who scheduled the party, Berling said, "didn't do it to be mean. She said she would accommodate [Berling's request] and she just forgot."
The next day, according to Berling's lawsuit, Berling was "confronted and criticized" for his reaction.
"According to my client, [his managers] started reading him the riot act and accused him of stealing other co-workers' joy," Bucher told Link NKY.
According to the lawsuit, "this confrontation triggered another panic attack". …
Berling's lawsuit said: "At the conclusion of this meeting and because plaintiff had a panic attack, plaintiff was sent home from work for the remainder of 8 and 9 August."
Berling apologized for having a panic attack. But, his lawsuit said, three days later he received an email from the company, "informing him that he was being terminated because of the events of the previous week".
According to court documents, a jury awarded Berling $450,000, including "$120,000 in lost wages and benefits; $30,000 in future lost wages and benefits; and $300,000 for past, present and future mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification and loss of self-esteem".