A jury decision recently re-emphasized the use of the n-word is not acceptable anytime, anyplace. While the racial slur has come to be acceptable among the black community, the court found otherwise, ruling its use is just plain wrong. The controversial word has been a fixture in English, albeit amid controversy.
The court recently awarded a young woman almost $300,000 in damages following her complaints that her employer discriminated against her by using the offensive term. The woman claims she was a victim of gender and race discrimination and provided a cellphone recording of her supervisor using the unsavory epithet referring directly to her. The complaint came on the heels of her reports of a sexual harassment claim against a coworker.
The irony of the suit is that the supervisor, as well as the young woman, are African-American. The employee states the manager used the slur and directed it to her and another female employee.
Both individuals are employed by a non-profit New York agency that attempts to provide employment leads for economically struggling city residents. The case has received attention based on the alleged double standard of the use of n-word. In his defense, the woman’s manager claims he was using the term to make a point and it was not intended to be derogatory. He stated his purpose was to deliver a message to the employee so that she would refrain from exemplifying a racial stereotype.
The court found the use of the label is not acceptable and represents discrimination. Its use does not represent a free pass for use from a person who is not black.
The bottom line is that offensive racial slurs are not appropriate in any situation, especially at the workplace. If you suspect you or someone you know have been a target of discrimination, it would be wise to consult with someone who can inform you of your rights on the job.
theroot.com, “The N-Word: Lawsuit Exposes Double-Standard Myths” Adam Serwer, Sep. 07, 2013