A federal jury in San Diego has rendered a verdict against AutoZone for $872,000 in compensatory damages and $185 million in punitive damages after determining that AutoZone retaliated against against a manager for being pregnant, eventually resulting in her demotion and later termination. According to the lawsuit, the philosophy was summed up by the vice president for western operations during a visit to a store staffed by a female manager and other women. He allegedly took the district manager aside and said: “What are we running here, a boutique? Get rid of these women,” the lawsuit states.
U-T San Diego reported the verdict. The newspaper says it is believed to be one of the largest employment law verdicts for an individual in U.S. history.
AutoZone is an auto-parts retailer that operates about 4,000 stores across the U.S. and abroad.
Readers should keep in mind that a "verdict" is not the same as a "judgment". The verdict will likely be significantly reduced by the court's application of applicable statutory caps on damages. Even so the verdict is large enough that an appeal by the company is a virtual certainly.
Read more: U-T San Diego