BECKLEY – A Greenbrier County woman is suing AutoZone after she claims she was discriminated against because of her gender.
AutoZoners LLC was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Melissa Loudermilk began working for AutoZone on Sept. 26, 2012, as a parts sales manager and in April 2014, a customer service manager position became available and she expressed her desire to be placed in the open position, as she was qualified for it, according to a complaint filed in Greenbrier Circuit Court and later removed to federal court.
Loudermilk claims the position was given to a male employee that had less experience than she did and the male was hand selected for the position by the district manager.
The district manager in charge of filling the position stated that thye had already had one female in the position and that he did not want another one in it, according to the suit.
Loudermilk claims during her employment, she was paid less than males that were in equivalent positions and performing substantially equal work.
The store manager position became available in June 2014 and Loudermilk expressed interest in the position and interviewed for it in August 2014, according to the suit.
Loudermilk claims she filled the store manager position until February, when she was terminated from her employment.
When her employment was terminated, a male was placed in the manager position the day after her termination, according to the suit.
Loudermilk claims the termination was purposeful and designed to get her out of the store so that a male could be placed in the manager position.
AutoZone later reinstated Loudermilk to her employment, but placed her in the position of customer service representative, which was a substantially equivalent to a customer services manager, according to the suit.
Loudermilk claims the customer services manager position was occupied by a male who had less experience, but he was paid more per hour than she was.
After she was reinstated to her employment in May, the male store manager vacated the position and Loudermilk expressed an interest in the store manager position, but was denied the opportunity to apply for the open position and a male employee was permitted to apply for the position, according to the suit.
Loudermilk claims she complained about the disparate treatment on the basis of her gender and that a subordinate male employee would not listen to her because she was a female, however, the defendant failed to take actions designed to end the disparate treatment.
The defendants discriminated against Loudermilk because of her gender and violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act, according to the suit.
Loudermilk is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Amy C. Crossan and Neil R. Bouchillon of Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn LC.
The defendants are represented by Joseph M. Price of Robinson & McElwee.
The case is assigned to District Judge Irene C. Berger.
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 5:15-cv-16131