A non-profit in New York must pay an African-American employee $280,000 in damages after her African American boss used the “n word” in the workplace.
According to CNN on Wednesday, a New York federal jury ruled Tuesday that the use of the word, even among minorities, was inappropriate in the workplace.
Brandi Johnson, an employee of nonprofit employment center STRIVE in Harlem, sued her employer Rob Carmona and his company after he used the word at her in a negative fashion.
Johnson recorded a conversation with her iPhone of Carmona chastising her in the office.
You and (a previous employee) are just alike. Both of you are smart as s---, but dumb as s---. You know what it is ... both of you are n------, y'all act like n------ all the time," he said to Johnson in the audio according to the report.
This was not the first incident of abusive language from Carmona according to Johnson
Carmona, 61, claimed that the word was used as a term of endearment and that he was merely trying to help.
"I come from a different time ... What I'm trying to do is help ... that's the transition... (this case) has showed me I got to take stock in that at my age," he said according to the report.
The audio was apparently in reference to Johnson trying to defend a STRIVE graduate who was accused of sexual harassment.
She filed a formal complaint in 2012 to the company’s CEO Phil Winberg, but it was dismissed as being an overly emotional action.
Johnson suspected that her defense of the graduate caused her termination from the company in 2012.
"There are a number of cases where the n-word has been used in a workplace, but usually it's been done between people of different races, and when we're having that discussion, it seems that it's clear that if you're not African-American and you use the n-word, absolutely it's insulting," Marjorie Sharpe, Johnson’s attorney, said.
Former Food Network star Paula Deen was accused of using the word in front of employees at her restaurant in Georgia earlier this year, which made national headlines.
Deen lost most of her sponsors and television shows after admitting to using the word in a different situation.
The judge threw out the charges in August 2013 because the employee who brought up the racial discrimination charges was not African American.