In the case of a wrongly accused employee, an AutoZone manager tried to do everything by the book. That ended being part of the problem. Joaquin Robles was accused of stealing money from AutoZone. Robles manager followed all company manual procedures and suspended Robles based on his behavior. When Robles returned to work a few days later, he was fired. Shortly after, Robles sued and began a journey through the courts, which eventually awarded him $7.5 million in punitive damages two weeks ago. AutoZone plans to appeal, which would make this the second attempt.
Commentary: the problem is that “the book” that Autozone provides to local managers in charge of internal investigation promotes what could be independently deemed as possibly “overly aggressive”, particularly if the employee ends up not having done anything wrong. In this case, the jury agreed. We wonder if the compliance department at Autozone has reviewed what was written likely by non-lawyers in the loss prevention department. In any regard, with the high potential costs of wrongful termination punitive damages, one of the more popular Corpedia training programs requested is about whistleblowing, internal investigations and nonretaliation.