The request in Fresno, California came on behalf of Janet Orlando, 53, who was suing her former employer, home security firm Alarm One Inc., over the spanking incident, the Associated Press reported. Orlando alleged discrimination, assault and battery and infliction of emotional distress, in her lawsuit.
According to the news report, employees were paddled with rival companies’ yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, court documents indicated. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks, the report said.
“No reasonable middle-aged woman would want to be put up there before a group of young men, turned around to show her buttocks, get spanked and called abusive names, and told it was to increase sales and motivate employees,” her lawyer, Nicholas Wagner, said in his closing argument, the Associated Press reported.
The Fresno Bee reported that testimony revealed that Alarm One typically hires young men and women to walk neighborhoods and make sales pitches to homeowners. The employees work on commission and are required to attend daily sales training meetings.
According to Wagner, sales people who arrived late for a meeting or talked out of turn were subject to a spanking. “The spankings also were used to increase productivity from its work force,” he said, according to the Bee. During the spankings, the sales force hooted and shouted lewd comments such as “Bend over, baby” and “You’ve been a bad girl,” according to court documents.
Lawyers for Alarm One, an Anaheim-based, 300-employee company, said the program was a part of an effort to build rapport among workers and that neither gender was discriminated against because the treatment was given to both men and women.
Officials ceased the practice in 2004, the year Orlando sued, after another employee complained of being injured, according to court records.