KANSAS CITY -- Delise Diaz said over the course of a year while working at an AutoZone on Truman Road in Independence that she was repeatedly sexually harassed by two customers. She said she'd complain daily to managers, but was told they didn't want to lose the customers' business.
Diaz eventually contacted human resources and the state before filing a civil lawsuit in Jackson County. This week a jury returned a judgment in her favor for damages totaling more than $2.5 million that must be paid by AutoZone.
In the midst of the harassment, Diaz said her bosses told her to "stop being a crybaby" and deal with the sexual advances to keep the customers coming back. She said the harassment came in the forms of inquires about her “cup size” and inappropriate touching on multiple occasions.
She said the harassment by the customers and passiveness of her managers affected her so badly that she would cry every day before work. She said she even resorted to hurting herself to take her mind off the stress.
“I started trying to do stuff to ease my pain, I started cutting myself and she walked in and caught me and that was really hard to have her come in on me,” she said.
Diaz said she finally called AutoZone Headquarters’ human resource office. She said it took four months for someone to call her back. Diaz said she also called the state and was informed what she was experiencing was indeed harassment.
When Diaz learned the verdict was returned in her favor, she was very emotional.
“I really didn’t expect the verdict they gave, I think all I could do was cry,” she said.
She said the suit wasn't about the money, it was about making a point that employers need to take their employees seriously when they complain of harassment. FOX 4 has reached out to AutoZone’s lawyers and we’re still awaiting a comment.
Diaz says she still works for AutoZone, but now at a different location. Previously she said she couldn’t simply quit because of another co-worker and financial constraints.
“Quitting wasn’t an option for me. I couldn’t afford it for one thing and I felt like if I quit then I would be leaving the other girl there,” Diaz said.