I was initially employed by AutoZone in the New Orleans area in June/2005 as a part time employee while I was enrolled as a student at Nunez Community College, pursuing a degree in General Sciences. My store manager, Mr. Rex Whitsell, told me that AutoZone loved employing college students and was very helpful with scheduling my work hours around my classes.
Due to Hurricane Katrina, my life partner and I had to evacuate our home and we fled to Florida to stay with relatives. Since we were unable to return to our home after Katrina, I made contact with one of the stores in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, managed by Mr. Marty Ferris, and explained my situation and the need for me to keep working and they generously allowed me to work at their store during the remainder of our stay in Florida.
In October/2005, we relocated permanently to Texas and settled in League City, as we decided we would not be returning to Louisiana. Upon making contact with Ms. Robin Adams, store manager at the retail location in League City (1492) and providing her with an explanation of my journey with the company thus far, I was offered a position as a part-time Senior Sales Associate. During this time and because of Katrina, the college that I attended in Louisiana flooded and they relocated and set up online classes for all the displaced students. I enrolled in the online classes and I was once again a student.
My manager knew that I was a college student prior to Katrina, and that I had worked part time previously. As my knowledge, responsibilities and work load increased (I was averaging 35 hours a week as a part timer), I asked Ms. Adams to consider promoting me to full time, as I felt the hours that I was working and the good performance I was providing AutoZone warranted that I gather some of the benefits offered to full time employees.
Mr. Darryl Swinky, District Manger at the time, approached me about working full time. He asked me about my school plans and I assured him that although I was taking a full schedule of classes, full time work would not be a problem because my store manager and I had no scheduling problems. It was known between Ms. Adams, Mr. Swinky and myself that I could not be available from open to close seven days a week. My full time status was approved and a raise awarded to me.
In June/2006, I began training for Parts Sales Manager position at store 1492. Then in July/2006, I was informed that the only way for me to get a promotion to Asst. Manager(a.k.a. Parts Sales Manager) would be for me to relocate to another store in the area (1308). I told Ms. Adams that I did not want to leave 1492; I applied and worked at that store(1492) because it was conveniently located to my home, school (College of the Mainland, Texas City) and my other community activities.
I was then notified by Ms. Adams that although she did not want me to leave, she also did not want to stand in my way of advancement and that if I stayed at 1492, promotion to Parts Sales Manager would be unlikely. I reluctantly contacted Mr. Patrick Allen, store manager of 1308, and was told to report to the Bay Area Blvd. store(1308).
When I accepted the position of Parts Sales Manager, I informed my new supervisor (Mr. Allen) that I had been enrolled in college and would be enrolling in classes for the fall semester to continue my education at College of the Mainland in Texas City.
I inquired which time of day would be best for my classes - day or evening schedule. My supervisor indicated that he would need me more in the daytime, so I re-enrolled in evening classes at my local community college ( College of the Mainland) I explained to my employer that I would not be able to work past 4:00 pm Tuesday and Thursday, as those were the nights I had classes. I was still available 7am to 4pm Monday thru Thursday, all day/night on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and all day on the weekends. I calculate my availability to work to be 85 hours per week.
After working full time as a Parts Sales Manager and performing all required duties for approximately 5 weeks, I was informed by Mr. Allen that because I was not available to be scheduled from open to close 7 days a week, due to my evening classes, I could no longer be employed as a full time employee. I was then contacted by my new District Manager, Mr. Carlos Trillo, who stated that since I was not a full time employee, he would have to take away my promotion. As it was explained to me by the store manager, the District Manager made the call and he was caught in the middle because the store desperately needed Parts Sales Managers to open and close the store.
I feel as though I am being discriminated against because I am a student. I am available to work 7:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday - Thursday, and all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I am fully capable of working full time and being a college student. No where in the company's employee manuals does it state this "rule".
I have worked in 4 stores in 3 states in the last 15 months of employment. My store manager at 3037 in Chalmette, LA and I were the last to leave the store after boarding the windows as a Category 5 storm approached. Upon evacuating to Florida, I immediately began working at store 248, where I was told they wanted me to stay because of my work ethic and value to that store manager. Upon arriving at 1492, I tried my best to become a valued employee, completing further AutoZone training classes and going the extra mile continuously. After reluctantly going to 1308, I sucked it up and continued my strong work ethic. Upon arrival there, WITTDTJR scores immediately went up after weeks of sub-par performance.
I have done everything that AutoZone has asked of me. In return, I have been made to feel like a second-class employee. In addition to my hours being cut, I am forced to spend more money to travel to 1308. I was never notified, nor provided any written company policy explaining the full time availability policy. I also worked for AutoZone for about a year before my Starbridge discount medical plan, that I applied for in July/2005, was ever made available to me due to an AutoZone screw-up, with no retroactive compensation.
I've requested to be transferred back to my original store, and to be re-instated as a Parts Sales Manager. I am concerned that the apparent policy of what constitutes a full time employee is not being enforced evenly. I am aware of other full time AutoZone's who are not available to be scheduled any time between open and closing hours, 7 days a week.
I am now once again just a part time Sales Associate and I'm still waiting to hear from the District Manager on whether or not I will be able in to be moved back to my original store and whether or not I will have my promotion stripped from me. Furthermore, since I was full time from February/2006 until now, what happens to the 7 months that I worked full time to achieve vacation?
What about the 7 months that I worked full time in order to become eligible for Blue Cross insurance? I have not been presented with any other alternative, nor been contacted by Mr. Trillo or my Regional Human Resources Manager, after leaving messages. This is not acceptable.
The above letter was presented to Mr. Patrick Allen, store 1308. Once again, after speaking with both Mr. Allen and Ms. Adams, no action was taken concerning my employment status. Furthermore, a fellow employee at store 1308, Mr. Kristjannsen, who is a full time college student, did not lose his full time status nor his Parts Sales Manager position.
League City, Texas
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Auto Zone