Many Happy Returns: Employee Awarded $450,000 In Dispute Over Unwanted Birthday Party

There is an interesting case out of Kentucky where an employee of Gravity Diagnostics has been awarded $450,000 after the company threw a birthday party for him in August 2019. The employee has an anxiety disorder and did not want a party.

Days before his birthday the employee asked his office manager to not arrange a celebration for his birthday because of his disorder and desire not to be “the center of attention.”  When they decided to throw the lunchtime party anyway, the employee had a panic attack and went to have his lunch in his car. Four days later, office managers confronted him about his reaction to the party and he was soon thereafter fired.

The founder and chief operating officer of Gravity Diagnostics Julie Brazil maintains that the employee presented a threat to the workplace.  She told Link NKY that

“[m]y 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. As an employer who puts our employee safety first, we have a zero-tolerance policy and we stand by our decision to terminate the plaintiff for his violation of our workplace violence policy.”

The employee said that he was sent home after being confronted by supervisors and, despite apologizing for his panic attack, he later received an email stating “he was being terminated because of the events of the previous week.”

The $450,000 award includes $120,000 for lost wages and $300,000 for “past, present and future mental pain and suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, mortification and loss of self-esteem.

Gravity Diagnostics is appealing.



30 thoughts on “Many Happy Returns: Employee Awarded $450,000 In Dispute Over Unwanted Birthday Party”

  1. It will be interesting how the company hires people in the future. Sometimes anxiety disorders don’t appear until new circumstances create them…like working with people you don’t like. The company wants to know if that will happen with this new guy, but how can it find before it hires him? Will it be accused of “anxiety disorder” discrimination?

  2. I don’t think anyone here seems to understand how severe an anxiety disorder can be, up to and including being unable to function or work. Sometimes severe anxiety can drive people to suicide. Because the anxiety episode is not always the entire problem but the FEAR of the attack occurring can be disabling also. A full blown anxiety attack can be a horrifying event with total loss of control. They are not just a little bit nervous. Anybody who has treated patients with anxiety disorder can appreciate this. If the owner was an RN then her training obviously was lacking in psychology studies. It was entirely appropriate for the employee to want to opt out of a birthday party. A reasonable and compassionate employer could have easily said. “Ok that is no problem and we will just proceed with a normal day of work”.

    1. The “affliction” must have been disclosed to absolve the employee of responsibility. If the company hired with that knowledge, the onus is on it. The owner “claims and exercises” dominion over private property and is the sole entity with the power to hire and fire, at will. No law may be legislated to deny an owner his absolute right to private property. Any failure is that of the judicial branch.

  3. All this over a birthday party??

    To think what the Greatest Generation endured to make the nation Great. They stood hours in breadlines and were rationed food and fuel.


    “World War III Has Begun After Sinking Of Moskva”: Russian State TV

    On another state-run television channel, a Russian anchor argued that Ukraine was doing the West’s bidding.

  5. Julie Brazil, as the owner, alone, “claims and exercises” dominion over this private property.

    Employees agree to birthday party celebrations, and the full exercise of dominion by the owner, when they accept employment at a private property enterprise.

    If the right to private property is not absolute, the right to private property does not exist.

    The employee is free and has the right to accept or reject employment.

    “[Private property is] that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.”

    – James Madison

    Compulsory birthday parties are a wonderful idea, however, as they clearly and passionately improve the “quality of life” for those afflicted with “anxiety disorder.”

    Julie Brazil should seek analysis.


    Julie Brazil, RN Chief Operating Officer & Co-Founder

    “Julie’s career began as an RN specially trained to treat patients with life threatening illness related to renal and cardiac comorbidities. She developed a passion for ensuring all patients received, not just treatment, but also education and awareness for improved quality of life. This led her to start her own consulting firm, initially working on delivering unique health care information to the public via the web. She then shifted to lab services where she felt she could make a stronger impact on patient lives, prevention and outcomes. Julie’s focus is on compliance, operations, clinical treatment algorithms and patient advocacy. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Nursing Degree and is a University of North Florida alum.”

  6. “I ask not to have a party for me on my birthday.”

    “Your input on this matter is irrelevant.”

    “But I have a condition, and that would make me very uncomfortable.”

    “Your input on this matter is irrelevant. You are getting a party, like it or not. You will shut up, eat your cake, appear to be happy and be grateful . . . or you are fired.”

    (The irony that a similar conversation could be had concerning a certain “jab.”)

  7. “Gravity Diagnostics is appealing”

    Hmm. Working for them might not be.

    1. Aninny, did you say Sussmann, as in singular and sole?

      In what universe is it possible for one man to take the blame, presumably with a sentence of “time served,” for an historic challenge of manifest legal authority and the effective overthrow of the most powerful government in human history?

      Get a grip, man!

      The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious crime in American political history. The co-conspirators are:

      Kevin Clinesmith, Bill Taylor, Eric Ciaramella, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann,

      James Comey, Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Sally Yates,

      James Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove,

      Christopher Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper,

      Azra Turk, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power,

      Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Obama,

      Joe Biden, James E. Boasberg, Emmet Sullivan, Gen. Milley, George Soros, John McCain,

      Marc Elias, Igor Danchenko, Fiona Hill, Charles H. Dolan, Jake Sullivan, Strobe Talbot,

      Cody Shear, Victoria Nuland, Ray “Red Hat” Epps, Don Berlin, Kathy Ruemmler, Rodney Joffe,

      Paul Vixie, L. Jean Camp, Andrew Whitney et al.

      1. George, don’t forget Alexander Vindman, a guy who wanted Trump impeached because he wasn’t doing “enough” for his beloved Ukraine. Filed under irony is the fact that Ukraine was invaded by Russia when Biden was VP and again when Biden is president…and NOT when Trump was in office.

    1. $87 MILLION

      The Cincinnati Business Courier has decided to feature Gravity Diagnostics as their cover story for November 2020! The Courier has told the story of Gravity from the beginning, highlighting when the company decided to make the ultimate decision and test for COVID-19.

      “It was a risky move, both men admit. Gravity was on the verge of its best month ever, and, as a whole, was nearing profitability. Adding necessary equipment alone would require a huge investment, around half a billion dollars, and with little runway in the bank, it would have been easier to say no.

      Of course, they had no way of knowing just how big of a reach it would be. In the 250 days since Gravity processed its first sample, the lab has increased square footage by 900% and its employment tenfold. Revenue has gone from $5 million in 2019 to $87 million to date this year,” said Liz Engel from the Cincinnati Business Courier.

      Kevin Berling is likely to have a long life and many years of “post-traumatic stress disorder” ahead of him – $300,000+ won’t go very far.

  8. Wow. Please don’t throw me a party I am uncomfortable in these situations. It’s not about you. Gonna do it anyway.

    They don’t like his response of leaving. Fire him.

    Pay him you insensitive aholes.

    Mistake 1 party, mistake 2 firing him.

  9. Maybe if he had been given a birthday cake without candles he might have been ok with the party.

  10. Pretty stupid employer that went ahead with a party that the ‘guest of honor’ said he did not want. I guess the 300k was the ‘Stupid’ award.

  11. The employer has an anxiety disorder and did not want a party.


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