Be Careful How You Train Your Employees

Have you hired employees for your business?  Do you provide training? As part of your training, do you conduct exercises, testing or even a robbery?  No, you didn’t read that wrong.  In late 2007, a New Jersey pharmacy technician sued her employer for traumatizing her during a training session. We originally posted a blog regarding this case in 2009 and are updating with recent results today.

According to reports on FindLaw and, in 2007 a New Jersey pharmacy technician claimed she was traumatized from a mock hold up arranged by her employer. The gunman told the technician that he had taken another employee hostage and demanded the pain narcotic OxyContin. When a co-worker attempted to call authorities for help, they found that the telephone was not working which added to the stress of the situation.  Immediately the “gunman”, who was an employee, canceled the exercise. It wasn’t until later that the technician found out that the holdup was fake and that the employer had arranged it for a training exercise. The technician claimed she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the training exercise. Her claim rested on the fact that she was not notified in advance of the training drill.  Recently, this multi-million dollar case was settled in favor of the plaintiff. 

If you are planning training, you as an employer must be cognizant of how these training exercises will affect your employees.  It is your responsibility to try and prevent any undue stress or hardship. There is a balance between realism and effectiveness that must be calculated for any training exercises. In this case the effectiveness of the training seems to have been significantly overshadowed by the trauma caused by its realism. As a part of the services StaffScapes offers, we will review current training programs and assist with management and staff training related to areas such as risk management. Contact us at or 303-466-7864 to learn more about the human resources and payroll assistance we can provide you.