Tennessee Store Manager Repeatedly Subjected Female Employees to Lewd Comments and Propositioning, Federal Agency Charges
MEMPHIS - AutoZone, a major nationwide retailer of automotive replacement parts and accessories, violated federal law by allowing a store manager to subject several female employees to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it announced today.
According to the EEOC's suit, shortly after the manager transferred to the Cordova, Tenn., AutoZone store around August 2012, he began making unwelcome lewd and offensive comments of a sexual nature and requesting sexual favors of three female employees. One employee complained to another store manager, but her complaint was ignored. When another female employee complained to a district manager, her complaint was also ignored. Despite these complaints, the harassment continued for months, until one of the employees finally complained to AutoZone's human resources office, the EEOC said.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. AutoZone, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-02760) in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee, Western Division, after first attempting to reach a voluntary pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting AutoZone from tolerating sexual harassment in the future, as well as compensatory and punitive damages for the harassment victims.
"Having a sexual harassment policy in the workplace is meaningless unless employees are made aware of it and management conveys to the workforce that the company will enforce it," said Katharine W. Kores, district director of the EEOC's Memphis District Office, which has jurisdiction over Arkansas, Tennessee and portions of Mississippi.
AutoZone, Inc. is a specialty retailer of automotive replacement parts and accessories. Headquartered in Memphis, AutoZone operates more than 5000 stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its website at www.eeoc.gov.