A New York jury has awarded $250,000 to Brandi Johnson, who sued her boss Rob Carmona, who is Black, and his employment agency STRIVE Harlem for targeting her with a "n-word-laced rant."
The court found the use of the word hostile and discriminatory in workplace environments and rejected Carmona's claims that he used the n-word as a term of endearment, according to the Associated Press. Johnson, 38, recorded Carmona's remarks after her complaints of verbal abuse were ignored.
"I was offended. I was hurt. I felt degraded. I felt disrespected. I was embarrassed," Johnson testified.
Associated Press reports:
In closing arguments, Johnson's attorney Marjorie M. Sharpe said Carmona's use of the word was intended to offend "and any evidence that defendants put forth to the contrary is simply ridiculous."
"When you use the word n----r to an African-American, no matter how many alternative definitions that you may try to substitute with the word n----r, that is no different than calling a Hispanic by the worst possible word you can call a Hispanic, calling a homosexual male the worst possible word that you can call a homosexual male," Sharpe told jurors.
But defense lawyers said the 61-year-old Carmona, a black man of Puerto Rican descent, had a much different experience with the word. Raised by a single mother in a New York City public housing project, he became addicted to heroin in his teens and broke it with the help of drug counselors who employed tough love and tough language.
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