Autozone Inc. To Pay $65,000 For Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
An eight person federal jury has returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in a sexual harassment lawsuit against AutoZone, Inc., the Memphis, Tenn.-based national auto parts retail giant. The jury ruled that AutoZone violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by subjecting employee Stacy Wing to a sexually hostile work environment. Wing complained about the sexual harassment, but AutoZone failed to take immediate and appropriate action to stop it.
The evidence presented at trial by the EEOC showed that Wing was subjected to egregious sexual harassment when she worked at the Mesa, Ariz.-based AutoZone in 2003. The EEOC presented evidence that the store manager repeatedly forced Wing’s head down to his genitals and made crude sexual remarks to her. At least one incident was caught on the store’s video camera, but AutoZone maintained it lost the video prior to trial, along with all records of Wing’s complaints and the “investigation” AutoZone claims it conducted.
“I am grateful to the EEOC for believing in this case and seeking justice on my behalf,” Wing said after the trial. “Without the EEOC, this type of behavior would go unchecked by those employers who do not care or do not understand how devastating sexual harassment can be to someone’s life.”
The jury found that the sexual harassment of Wing violated Title VII, the federal statute that prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual harassment) and national origin, and protects employees who complain about such offenses, or participate in investigations of such offenses, from retaliation.