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VIDEO – Black boss’s N-WORD rant to black employee costs him, nonprofit $280,000

Federal jury rejects ‘N-word’ among blacks in workplace

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.

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 lawyer, Diane Krebs, issued a statement that said in part: “We are disappointed by the verdict, as we do not believe that it comports with the full facts applicable to the case. Nevertheless, we respect the jury’s decision and the judicial process. We are exploring all our options moving forward, including appeal, and look forward to the judicial process taking its entire course.”

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.

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