Kentucky man awarded nearly half a million pound payout after unwanted birthday party at work

A man in Kentucky has been awarded $450,000 after an unwanted surprise party a work triggered a panic attack.

Kevin Berling who was working at Gravity Diagnostics in 2019, asked his co-workers not to hold the usual birthday gathering for him, as he suffers from an anxiety disorder.

However the lawsuit claims the office manager forgot, and the gathering was held - causing Berling to have a panic attack and spend his lunch break sitting in his car.

When bosses met with him to discuss his reaction, he had another panic attack - at which point Berling was asked to leave, and was later fired from the job.

Berling's lawyer, Tony Bucher said: "According to my client, she started reading him the riot act and accused him of stealing other coworkers’ joy."

Founder and chief operating officer Julie Brazil told the northern Kentucky news website Link NKY that Berling was dismissed for violating a "workplace violence policy" and that the company stands by its decision.

She also said there had been an increase in incidents of workplace violence, telling the site: "My employees de-escalated the situation to get the plaintiff out of the building as quickly as possible while removing his access to the building, alerting me and sending out security reminders to ensure he could not access the building, which is exactly what they were supposed to do."

However Berling's lawyer maintained that he was no threat, and simply putting his coping mechanisms into place - namely hugging himself, and asking his managers to stop.

A jury believed Berling, and he was awarded $450,000 in damages, $300,000 of that accounting for mental anguish.