April 28, 2006

Spanked woman gets $1.7 mln in lawsuit

FRESNO, California (Reuters) - A California woman who sued
her former employer after she was spanked on the job was
awarded $1.7 million in damages and compensation on Friday.

Janet Orlando, 53, said she was embarrassed, permanently
scarred and mentally anguished by the fraternity-like
atmosphere and sales-building exercises at Alarm One Inc.,
which included paddling if an employee was late for a sales

The jury initially awarded her $500,000 in compensatory
damages for lost wages, emotional distress and medical
expenses. After further deliberation, the jury added another
$1.2 million in punitive damages, lawyers said.

"Nationwide this will make for a safer workplace, help
ensure less harassment in the workplace," Orlando's attorney
Nicholas "Butch" Wagner told Reuters.

"The most compelling evidence is that they made a
middle-aged woman go in front of mostly male co-workers between
the ages of 18 and 24, bend over, put her hands on the wall and
spanked her with a metal sign."

The swatting incidents occurred in 2003 and stopped as soon
as executives at company headquarters in Anaheim, California,
received a complaint, Alarm One Chief Operating Officer Patrick
Smith said.

Sales people at the home security company's Fresno office,
which has since closed, developed the unorthodox practices

Two original plaintiffs who sued over the practice settled
out of court, defense attorney K. Poncho Baker said.

The company did not return calls seeking reaction after the
jury announced its verdict.