Woman Spanked at Work Awarded $1.7 Million

A jury has awarded a California woman $1.7 million after she was spanked in front of her employers.

Janet Orlando, 53, started working as a saleswoman for Alarm One in October 2003, when she said the spankings in front of her colleagues began.

"It was in the workplace," Orlando told "Good Morning America." "If you spoke out of turn or if you came in late, they would spank you."

Orlando said she was shocked when she heard about the spanking.

"I asked why they were doing it, and they told me, 'Don't worry, you'll be next' and I was," Orlando said. "I was hit three times."

Court testimony indicates the spanking and lewd comments occurred during company-sponsored meetings designed to motivate sales employees.

"I don't see how spanking an employee can ever be seen as a motivator," said Tory Johnson, "GMA's" workplace contributor and CEO of Women for Hire. "I can't imagine how Janet Orlando's employer thought that this was a proper way to motivate or engage or treat its employees."

Orlando quit in 2004, less than a year after she was hired. She said she only lasted that long because of her family.

"I was helping support my family at the time, and the money was very good," Orlando said.

At the end of April, jurors awarded Orlando $10,000 for economic loss, $40,000 for future medical costs, $450,000 for emotional distress, pain and suffering, and $1.2 million in punitive damages.

Following the judgment, Alarm One issued a statement of apology noting that "Alarm One had and still has a very aggressive employee training program to ensure employee understanding of the type of behaviors that will and will not be tolerated." The company is considering appealing.

During the trial, attorneys from Alarm One called Orlando's credibility into question, saying she had sued a previous employer for sexual harassment and had been caught shoplifting.

"I think owning up to responsibility for what you've done wrong and making it right is important," said Orlando, who added she had sought help for an addiction.

Alarm One attorneys also argued that the spankings were not discriminatory because they were given to both male and female workers and that Orlando willingly took part in the spankings and spanked co-workers.

"I never touched a soul, ever, in that room," Orlando said.

Orlando's attorney, Nicholas Wagner, said there was a lesson for everyone in Orlando's ordeal: Complain in writing. He said Orlando had complained four times, but Alarm One argued she never had because she had never done so in writing.

"If you don't complain in writing, complaints don't count," Wagner said.