The jury of six men and six women found that Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled on the rear end two years ago at Alarm One Inc., a home security company in Fresno. The jury said Orlando did not suffer from sexual assault, as she had alleged.
Jurors awarded Orlando $10,000 for economic loss, $40,000 for future medical costs and $450,000 for emotional distress, pain and suffering. They awarded her an additional $1.2 million in punitive damages.
Orlando's attorney, Nicholas "Butch" Wagner, did not immediately return calls for comment.
K. Poncho Baker, an attorney for Alarm One, said it was excessive.
"I think the jury was so upset at Alarm One that they went overboard," Baker said. "Not to say that what Alarm One did was right, but this allows her to manipulate the system."
Orlando quit in 2004, less than a year after she was hired, saying she was humiliated during the company's camaraderie-building exercises.
Sales teams were encouraged to compete, and the losers were made fun of, forced to eat baby food, required to wear diapers and spanked with a rival company's yard signs, according to court documents.
Lawyers for the company said Orlando and others took part in the exercises willingly. The company has since abandoned the practice.
During the trial, company attorneys revealed that Orlando had sued a previous employer, also claiming that she had been sexually harassed.
04-29-06 03:07 EDT
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