Woman spanked at work awarded $1.7 million

Team-building exercise is ruled to have been sexual harassment and battery.


Katharine Mieszkowski
April 29, 2006 2:19AM (UTC)

Here's an update on that case of spanking on the job, in which a worker sued her former employer for $1.2 million over motivational team-building exercises that involved her colleagues whacking her in the butt.

Friday, a Fresno, Calif., jury awarded $500,000 to plaintiff Janet Orlando after finding that she had suffered sexual harassment and sexual battery. Here's how that money breaks down: $10,000 for economic loss, $40,000 for future medical costs and $450,000 for emotional distress, pain and suffering. Now, the jury will decide how the company should be punished.

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Orlando, according to the Associated Press, saw herself as "a mother figure to others in her team" at Alarm One, a security company, and "found it degrading to have to turn around, show her backside to a roomful of young men and women and get paddled."

For managers in corporate America seeking team-building alternatives to spanking, diaper wearing and baby-food feeding -- all practices Alarm One embraced -- might I suggest a grown-up lunch out on the company's dime?

Update: Late Friday, the jury awarded Orlando an additional $1.2 million in punitive damages, bringing the total awarded to $1.7 million.

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Katharine Mieszkowski

Katharine Mieszkowski is a senior writer for Salon.

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