(CN) - A former district manager for several Auto Zone stores in Kentucky and West Virginia says in a lawsuit that she was fired because she hired too many women.
Cindy Delong began working for the auto parts retailer on September 13, 2012, and served as district manager for 13 stores.
In a lawsuit filed in Cabell County, W. Va., Delong claims that on May 9, 2014, her regional manager advised her that she had hired too many women to work in the South Williamson, Kentucky store, and that "the customers weren't used to so many women in a store."
She says that five days later, she was placed on a performance improvement plan, which was to last for 30 days.
"The performance improvement plan required plaintiff to meet 7 out of 9 goals, many of which were new items that were just being implemented," Delong says. "As they were new items, there was no record of performance to improve upon."
Delong, who was one of nine district managers working in the region, and the only female, says her performance was "Not deficient and there was no need for a performance improvement plan.
"In fact, there were at least 2 male district managers whose stores performed much worse than hers on all measures," she adds.
Then, "[o]n June 10, 2014, less than thirty days into her 30 day performance improvement plan, the Plaintiff was terminated from employment and advised that she was 'not a good fit for the company," she says.
Delong says on the day she was let go, her district was divided in two, with both portions placed under a male manager, one of whom had previously fired by Auto Zone.
She seeks compensatory and punitive damages, payment of past and future lost wages, and court costs.
Delong is represented by Amy Crossan and Niel Boushillon of Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn LC of Huntington, W.Va.
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