New York, NY, United States (4E) – A federal jury in New York has ordered an employment agency to pay $280,000 in damages to a fired black female worker, who sued the company’s also black owner for using the n-word against her during a workplace outburst.
The 10-man jury rejected on Tuesday STRIVE East Harlem President Rob Carmona’s argument that his reprimand on Brandie Johnson filled with the n-word was a tough-love rant meant to help her. But Johnson, a 38-year-old single mother, saw it as a verbal abuse that offended, hurt, degraded, disrespected and embarrassed her.
Johnson caught Carmona’s tirade on tape using her mobile phone in March 2012 before she was eventually fired. Carmona used the n-word eight times as he castigated her for her and another employee for their on-the-job conduct and attire. The tape was played in court during the trial.
Johnson’s lawyer, Marjorie M. Sharpe, told the jury that a black person’s use of the n-word against another black person is still offensive and discriminatory. Johnson, during her testimony, said the n-word coming from Carmona is as painful if it came from a white.
The jury’s decision somehow belied a double standard on the use of the n-word. The n-word is deemed racist when uttered by a white, but culturally acceptable when used by blacks among themselves.
Carmona’s lawyer said they will appeal the jury’s decision to fine him $280,000.