A woman who worked in a south Georgia AutoZone store has sued the company saying that a Trump-supporting customer hurled racist epithets at her in a vicious tirade, but she ended up losing her job.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution said that the unnamed woman and her attorney Ian E. Smith filed suit in U.S. District Court in Atlanta — where AutoZone, LLC is headquartered — on Tuesday.
The suit alleges that the woman was fired from her job at the AutoZone store in Thomasville after a white male customer went on a vicious, expletive-filled tirade on March 14, 2017.
Court documents say that the woman was working her shift as a driver and sales associate when a “regular commercial account customer” called the shop and demanded to know who had just called his phone.
The employee replied that she didn’t know and did not have a way to determine who had just called him. The man reportedly began to curse at her so she hung up the phone.
The customer then drove to the store and barged into the showroom.
“According to the suit, the white male customer called the woman ‘a worthless piece of (expletive)’ and said, ‘I don’t (know) why y’all have a bunch of (racial epithet) in here that don’t know nothing, and now you have a lady (racial epithet) in here and she really knows nothing,’” reported the Journal-Constitution’s Mitchell Northam.
The man went on to call the woman a “black (racial epithet)” and said, “Trump is backing my money” and “you mother (expletive) are about to get what you deserve.”
A manager intervened and the customer demanded the number for the company’s corporate headquarters.
Within hours, the district manager and commercial manager arrived at the Thomasville store to discuss the incident.
The lawsuit claims that the district manager told the attacked woman that she had been rude to the customer and that when commercial account holders come to the store, her job is to comply with their demands and “not say anything else.”
When she tried to explain that the customer had used racial epithets, the district manager said the insults were “just words” and that the employee should “suck it up.”
The managers refused to investigate her complaint against the customer, the former employee said. In exasperation, she then spoke to another manager and asked what process was necessary to resign, but the suit stresses that she merely asked for information and did not hand in her resignation.
The next day, March 15, the district manager fired the woman, saying that he accepted her two-week resignation notice.
“In the suit, the woman claims that she was deprived of economic opportunities because of her race, and that the entire incident affected her psychological and physical well-being. She is seeking a jury trial,” said Northam.