A Wal-Mart accounting clerk in Florida has sued the retailer, saying it should be held responsible for two managers who staged a prank that left her convinced she had been exposed to anthrax.
The clerk, Taunya Cifuentes, gives this account in her lawsuit:
The day after Christmas, she was counting money at Wal-Mart's Greenacres, Fla., store when she found cash defaced with anti-religious statements. She alerted manager Sabrina Teaser. The next day, the other manager, Joanne Campfield, called Cifuentes and said police had alerted the store that money bearing anti-religion slogans was infected with anthrax.
Campfield told Cifuentes she was likely infected and should be tested immediately. That made Cifuentes physically distraught; she thought she might have infected her son, who was already sick.
Campfield and Teaser later told her that they were joking and began telling other Wal-Mart employees about the phone call. Co-workers started taunting Cifuentes by brushing up against her
and commenting that they had contracted anthrax from her.
Cifuentes alleges she could no longer work in such an environment and left the store Jan. 4. She has not
"The conduct ... was so outrageous in character and so extreme in danger as to go beyond the bounds of decency, especially given recent incidents involving anthrax and a corresponding
fear on the part of all Americans," according to her lawsuit, filed in Palm Beach County Circuit
Cifuentes is seeking more than $15,000 in damages for, among other things, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, expense of psychological and/or psychiatric care, and loss of ability
to earn money.
Teaser and Campfield also are named as defendants.