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Anaheim Firm Loses Lawsuit Brought by Spanked Worker

April 29, 2006|From the Associated Press

FRESNO — A jury on Friday awarded $500,000 to a woman who sued her employer after she was spanked in front of her colleagues in what the Anaheim-based company called a camaraderie-building exercise.

The jury of six men and six women found that Janet Orlando suffered from sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled on three occasions during her employment at Alarm One Inc. home security company in Fresno. But jurors did not find that Orlando suffered from sexual assault.

Orlando, 53, had asked the jury for at least $1.2 million in lost wages, medical costs and damages, alleging discrimination, assault, battery and infliction of emotional distress. She was awarded $10,000 for economic loss, $40,000 for future medical costs and $450,000 for emotional distress, pain and suffering. The trial's punitive phase was to start Friday afternoon.

Orlando's attorney, Nicholas "Butch" J.P. Wagner, said his client was satisfied. K. Pancho Baker, an attorney for the company, called the award excessive.

Sales teams were encouraged to compete, and the losers were forced to eat baby food, wear diapers or get spanked, according to court documents.

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