This is from the “you won’t believe it files.” Here’s what happened. Rosario Juarez joined the Auto Zone team in 2000. She was a hard worker and that hard work was rewarded in 2001 when she was promoted to Parts Sales Manager. By 2004 she was promoted again – this time to store manager. Her problems didn’t begin until 2005. Why a year later? It was simple. Rosario Juarez had a problem (at least from the perspective of some in Auto Zone), she was pregnant. That’s right she was going to have a baby. What normally is an exciting time turned into a nightmare for Juarez.

The nightmare started when she told her manager that she was going to have a baby. The manager responded that he “felt sorry for her” and subsequently began to mistreat her. Juarez took this issue to her district manager who made matters worse. He suggested that she return to parts since she was unable to handle the demands. The problem? iShe was able to handle it. Up to this point, she and her team had both met and exceeded expectations.

After her son was born things got even worse for the new Mom. She received a demotion and a decrease in pay. On top of it all, she had to wait a year to apply for her old management job. She waited the year and was denied. That’s when she took legal action and she went to trial.

The results? The former district manager admitted under oath that he had been directed by a VP with Auto Zone to fire women who were in management positions. The VP also said, “What are we running here, a boutique? Get rid of those women.”  With that evidence, the jury awarded $832,720 in compensatory damages and another whopping $185 million in punitive damages. As of this writing Auto Zone is, of course, appealing.

Pretty appalling story don’t you think? The problem is that it happens more often than you know. So what should a person do who is a victim of workplace discrimination?

First, make sure you have an updated policy manual provided by your employer. Often all one needs to do is point out that they are in violation of their own manual and a remedy is acquired.

Second, document everything. Keep record of the who, what, when, where, why and how. Don’t leave any stone unturned.

Third, report any possible problems to human resources immediately. Again a simple inquiry will often resolve a potentially explosive situation before it gets uncontrollable.

Fourth, keep at it. Don’t quit or get discouraged. Good legal counsel will help you navigate the waters and keep you on course. Don’t give up; your rights are your rights!

You can read more details on this story here.