Another “N-Word” Case (No Noose?): Settled By EEOC For $40,000

The EEOC, which sued a New York-based company in South Carolina alleging racial harassment and retaliation, has just announced the settlement of the case for $40,000.

Sling, Hangman, Hanging, Knot, Execution

As readers know I’ve focused many posts particularly on certain different types of employment discrimination cases – one category of which involves racial slurs and a hostile workplace.  Perhaps these types of cases are bellwethers or predictors of trends — perhaps not.

Anyway, on June 1st I noted that “It’s been awhile since any of my posts dealt with acts of vulgar racial or other epithets directed at employees.  Is that because such cases are becoming less frequent? Or is there some other reason – have I been asleep?”

Well, as the June 1st post proved, with the settlement of a particularly brutal case, these types of cases – or employers – may simply have been resting up for a new round – like locust.

This new settlement followed the typical pattern: plaintiff was “repeatedly subjected to unwelcome derogatory racial comments and slurs made by a white coworker, including repeated use of the ‘N’ word.” Despite complaining to management many times, these acts continued and plaintiff was eventually fired.

The “N-word” is ubiquitous in these case; the only element missing here from the racial harassment cases which I typically see is the racially-freighted noose hanging from the employee’s locker or somewhere else in the workplace.

Some things never seem to change.  Maybe they are just becoming less frequent?

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Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]