Jury Awards over $185,000,000 against AutoZone for Pregnancy Discrimination and Retaliation
A federal jury in California awarded $872,720 in compensatory damages and an additional $185 million in punitive damages to Rosario Juarez in a verdict against AutoZone Inc. on November 17, 2014. The jury unanimously found AutoZone liable for gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, retaliation, and failure to prevent harassment.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a federal law that prohibits discriminating against employees or applicants on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. This includes discrimination in:
Any other term or condition of employment
"Get rid of those women"
Rosario Juarez began working for AutoZone in 2000 and was promoted to store manager in 2004. After she became pregnant in 2005 her district manager continually tried to convince her to step down to a lower position, saying she couldn’t handle the demands of being store manager. After her son was born she was demoted and her pay was cut.
She was fired in 2008, after filing claims with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
According to Juarez’s attorney, Lawrence Bohm, the district manager was offered a promotion if he fired all of the women at his stores. During the trial, a former AutoZone district manager testified that the company’s vice president complained to him about the number of women he saw working in one of the stores, and the fact that the manager was female, saying, “What are we running here, a boutique? Get rid of those women.”
See also Harassment in the Workplace