The unprovoked rage of a racist white man cost a black AutoZone employee her job and her peace of mind.
A self-proclaimed supporter of President Donald Trump allegedly unleashed a racist tirade against the woman, hurling slurs and racial epithets at her. However, she was the one who was punished for the incident by being terminated from the establishment.
According to Raw Story, the unnamed woman and her attorney, Ian E. Smith, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court in Atlanta — which is where the AutoZone LLC headquarters is located — on Tuesday.
The suit claims that on March 14, 2017, the “regular commercial account customer” called the Thomasville shop where the woman worked demanding to know who had just previously called him. When the employee informed him that she didn’t know which one of her colleagues had contacted him and had no way of finding that information, he proceeded to curse at her, prompting her to hang up on him.
The enraged customer then drove to the store to continue his verbal assault.
“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,’” The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
He continued, calling the woman a “black (racial epithet)” and proclaiming that “Trump is backing my money” and “you mother (expletive) are about to get what you deserve.”
When a manager finally stepped in, the customer asked for the company’s corporate headquarters' phone number. The district manager and commercial manager arrived on the scene within hours to mediate.
The district manager determined that the employee had mistreated the customer and that when a commercial account holder enters the establishment, her only job is to comply with their requests and “not say anything else.” Even when the woman reported the customer’s racist comments, the district manager insisted that the epithets were “just words” and that she should “suck it up.”
The company officials purportedly would not investigate her complaints against the customer, causing her to ask another manager for information about the process for submitting a resignation. However, she never actually handed in a resignation, which the lawsuit emphasizes.
Before she could quit, the district manager fired her, claiming he was accepting her two-week resignation notice — despite the fact that she hadn't actually given one.
“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,” according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The customer may have perceived the woman's demeanor as rude, which could have triggered his initial frustration, but even so, the racist insults and references to Trump were highly uncalled for. His so-called grievances with her customer service did not need to be associated with her race in any way.
He deliberately chose cruel, nasty, and hateful words to use against the employee, and the fact that she was dismissed and then punished after enduring that experience shows that the managers do not value diversity or the hardworking minority employees who keep their business running.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters, Rick Wilking