Obviously, every organization, executive or manager wants to save money and avoid jury verdicts like this. Or, at least you should! Big jury verdicts grab our attention and focus us on the basics. Let's drill down to how this bizarre case might affect your workplace.
Andrews received the jury verdict against a Nashville Marriott franchise and a stalker after she was secretly videotaped naked several times in 2008. The stalker used a hacksaw to alter the peepholes of Andrew's hotel rooms in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio. The stalker posted the footage online and it was shared widely. Andrews - who was a sportscaster for ESPN at the time - has spent years trying to get the video off-line but testified at trial that people still send her tweets with pictures from it and shout things to her in public. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/business/media/erin-andrews-awarded-55-million-in-lawsuit-over-nude-video-at-hotel.html?_r=0
Andrews contended that the hotel should have told her that the man had requested the room next to hers and she would have called the cops and stopped it.
How Does This Relate to Your Organization?
You have a duty to keep your employees safe at work. While Andrews wasn't technically on the field or in the ESPN offices, there have been many workplace stalker cases where companies have not responded appropriately and have suffered the consequences. Here's how you should prevent this disaster:
1. Enforce reasonable security measures. Make sure that your security systems are enforced, don't let people follow employees in if they don't have key cards or badges. Make sure that parking lots are well lit, and, if it is a large area, have security conduct patrols.
2. Keep front desk and security personnel informed. If an employee tells you about a stalker, make sure that the front desk and your security people know and take reasonable steps to keep the alleged stalker out of the building and keep them safe. Offer to have someone walk them to their car or check on them if they are working late.
3. Train managers in harassment prevention and violence prevention. Make sure that they know they have a responsibility to keep employees safe.
4. Do what you can to keep employees safe while traveling. Make sure that they are able to stay in hotels with reasonable safety procedures and offer them training on safe travel precautions.
While Andrews probably will never collect $55 million - especially since the stalker has served time in jail and is bankrupt and the Marriot franchisee is appealing the verdict - she probably will collect a significant award. As a matter of values, as well as the law, make sure that you protect your employees from a similar fate.