If you’ve been following this site for a while you know that I rarely cover social or political topics unless they have some type of influence or cross over with the automotive industry. Like my video on the Watercooled IND debacle.
When the Watercooled IND incident happened I had deeply hoped that I would never have to cover anything like that going on in the industry again. Unfortunately, it looks like it will happen again.
I just caught wind of a story by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) in which an African-American female employee of an AutoZone store in Georgia is suing the company after claiming that she was fired by the store after she was the victim of racial harassment while on duty.
The woman claims that on March 14th, 2017 when a “commercial account customer” called the AutoZone store in question claiming that someone from that store had recently called his phone.
She happened to be the person who answered the phone when this man called. After telling the man that she was “unable to determine” who originally called his phone she claims the man got angry and began to curse at her over the phone. Once that happened she hung up the call.
The man then drove to the store and confronted the woman in person. According to the woman, the white male called her a “worthless piece of (expletive)“.
He then allegedly said “I don’t (know) why y’all have a bunch of (N-word) in here that don’t know nothing, and now you have a lady (N-word) in here and she really knows nothing.”
The woman claims this man also called her a “Black (expletive)” and said “Trump is backing my money” as well as “you mother (expletive) are about to get what you deserve.”
At this point another African American female manager who allegedly witnessed the incident stepped in between the woman and the male, trying to diffuse the situation.
The man then asked for AutoZone’s corporate number, then the district manager and a commercial manager arrived at the store a short while after.
At this point the woman said the district manager accused her of being rude to the customer and that when dealing with a commercial customer she should “do what they ask and not say anything else.” She also claims the district manager told her that the man’s racist tirade was “just words” and she should “suck it up.”
With her district manager being of no help she decided to meet with AutoZone human resources. According to the woman AutoZone HR told her to “just let it work itself out” and refused to investigate her complaints about the district manager she had previously dealt with.
She then says she spoke to a different manager asking about the steps she needed to take in order to resign but did not actually resign, she was merely inquiring about the process
The next day (March 15th, 2017) the district manager fired the woman. According to the woman the district manager said he was accepting her two-week resignation immediately despite the woman saying that she was not formally resigning.
According to the AJC, they reached out to AutoZone’s corporate communications but were told that AutoZone will not “publicly comment on pending litigation.” The woman’s lawyer is also not making any at this time
I am going to reserve judgement until more facts come out on this situation. If this case goes to trial then it is likely that AutoZone will be subpoenaed for any security video footage they might have of the incident.
However, if this is all true then it is a pretty clear violation of this woman’s civil rights as well as an incredibly gross and incompetent handling of the situation of not one but three different AutoZone representatives (district manager, commercial manager, and HR representative).
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: racism, sexism, and intolerance has no place in the automotive industry, the culture, or just in our society, period.
I shop at AutoZone often as there is one less than 5 minutes away from my house. Heck, I’m even an AutoZone Rewards member!
Employees should feel safe and respected and AutoZone should stand up for them when that safety is threated or they are disrespected by anyone, including customers. So, I really hope the higher ups at AutoZone corporate do the right thing if these allegations are true.
Otherwise, I may just have to buy my auto parts at a different location…
If the woman’s allegations are true, what do you think AutoZone should do to remedy the situation? Have you ever experienced anything similar to what this woman allegedly dealt with within the automotive industry or culture?
let us know in the comments below or tweet to us @MotorworldHype.
[Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]