Apparently plenty, as a New York City employer just found out in court.
A federal jury in New York ruled Tuesday that a man who identifies as black and Hispanic and the nonprofit he founded must pay punitive damages to an African-American employee after a previous ruling that the use of the "n-word" is inappropriate among minorities in a workplace.I'm short on time, so I won't bother expounding on this one for now. Ya'll tell me your thoughts.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Brandi Johnson, who is African-American, against STRIVE, the employment center where she worked, claiming she was a victim of a hostile workplace after enduring verbal harassment and a series of statements filled with profanity and racial slurs from her supervisor. The employment center in East Harlem argued that the use of the word was part of a "tough-love culture."
The jury ruled Tuesday that center founder Rob Carmona must pay $25,000 and his organization must pay $5,000 in punitive damages.
Jurors last week awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages to Johnson, 38, who sued Carmona personally and STRIVE, which he founded in 1984.
Carmona's n-word-peppered rant toward Johnson was captured on a four-minute audio recording on Johnson's iPhone without her boss knowing in March 2012 and was played for a federal jury last week.
"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," Carmona said to Johnson, according to audio evidence played in court and obtained by CNN.
Carmona called Johnson the n-word eight times during the recording.
"And I'm not saying the term n------ as derogatory; sometimes it's good to know when to act like a n-----, but y'all act like n------ all the time ... both of you very bright, but both y'all act like n------ at inappropriate times," Carmona said in the audio recording.
From the stand Tuesday, Carmona explained tearfully that he was only 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," said Carmona, 61.
Question: Is this fair?