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Fuentes v. AutoZone, Inc., 200 Cal. App.4th 1221 (2011)

The Appellate Case

In the case of Fuentes v. AutoZone, Inc., 200 Cal. App.4th 1221 (2011), a woman named Fuentes sued her employer, AutoZone, and certain individuals. She claimed they sexually harassed her at her retail job, which is against the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. She also accused them of intentionally causing her emotional distress and spreading false rumors about her (slander).

Her case focused on the actions of her supervisors, who behaved differently compared to other similar cases. Specifically, her manager asked Fuentes to show off her body to customers to help increase sales. This type of behavior wasn’t seen in other cases that AutoZone mentioned. Additionally, the manager spread untrue rumors, which were seen as specifically aimed at Fuentes. This was different from other cases, where the harassment wasn’t targeted at a specific person. The court saw this behavior as verbal abuse and harassment.

At first, AutoZone won the case. However, Fuentes appealed the decision, and the judgement was reversed. This was because there were still important facts left to be decided regarding her sexual harassment claim. She didn’t continue with her claims for slander and emotional distress.

After a trial by a jury, Fuentes was awarded $160,000 in damages, $23,898.76 in costs, and $677,025 in lawyer fees.

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

Legal cases can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing, but you don’t have to take on the system all by yourself. If you believe someone has violated your individual rights, or the rights of a large group of people in your community, we can help you find the right course of action.

Contact our California Employment Attorneys

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