birthday party
A business man is having an unhappy birthday celebration since he has to work in the office. He wears a colorful party hat on his head in spite of his bad mood and grumpy face. Horizontal.

Meanwhile in Kentucky: Man Wins $450K for Being Fired After Office Birthday Party He Didn’t Want, Can Now Afford an Even Bigger Blowout

If you’ve ever worked in an office environment, you’re familiar with the dread that comes along with the workplace birthday party. The forced socializing, the gaudy decorations, the overly polite cake eating. Why do employers insist on throwing parties for employees’ birthdays like we’re toddlers?

One Kentucky man wasn’t going to fake any enthusiasm for a birthday fete at his office. In fact, he warned his bosses not to throw a party to celebrate another year ‘round the sun.

His name is Kevin Berling, and he requested that his employer, Gravity Diagnostics, abstain from the usual office birthday party festivities in 2019. See, Berling has anxiety disorder, and feared having a panic attack at the party. (We feel you, buddy.)

But as Berling’s lawyer, Tony Bucher, told ABC affiliate WCPO, “the person who was responsible for the birthday parties who he talked to flat out forgot about his request.”

“Forgot.” Uh-huh. Why are we imagining Angela from The Office right now?

The party went on as planned, and Berling had a panic attack as predicted. He had to escape to his car to calm down in the middle of the party, then had to come back and grin and bear his way through the rest of his workday.

The day after the party, Berling was summoned by the higher-ups. During the meeting, one of the managers “started reading him the riot act and accused him of stealing other coworkers’ joy,” Bucher claims. Berling couldn’t stomach the criticism, and had yet another panic attack.

Three days later, the company fired him – in an email! (Good riddance. This place sounds like the worst workplace ever.) To add insult to injury, they said he was “violent” and made colleagues fear for their safety.

Well, the joke was on the company because a month later, Berling sued for disability discrimination – and won! According to the New York Times, the jury awarded him $150,000 for lost wages and benefits, plus a whopping $300,000 for suffering, embarrassment, and loss of self-esteem.

We don’t know what Berling plans to do with his financial windfall, but we’d bet anything he won’t spend it on a belated birthday blowout.

Cover Photo: RyanJLane (Getty Images)