Federal jury rejects ‘N-word’ among blacks in workplace
Brandi Johnson sued her boss, STRIVE East Harlem founder Rob Carmona, after he targeted her in a slur-laced tirade. A Manhattan jury awarded $280,000 to Johnson, who recorded her boss using the epithet.Comments (201)
PUBLISHED: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2013, 2:14 PM
UPDATED: TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2013, 11:41 PM
Carmona testified that he was trying to tell Johnson she was 'too emotional,' wrapped up in 'the negative aspects of human nature.'
The jury awarded Johnson $250,000 in compensatory damages last week, and another $30,000 in punitive damages on Tuesday — $25,000 of which Carmona will have to pay out of his own pocket.
Johnson’s lawyer, Marjorie Sharpe, said jurors “took a stand and said the N-word has no place in the workplace.”
Carmona is the founder of STRIVE, an East Harlem nonprofit that finds work for people from troubled backgrounds.
It claims to have helped nearly 50,000 people find work since 1984.
He insisted he wasn’t trying to offend Johnson with his use of the word.
“I come from a different time,” he said, adding that the verdict showed him he has to “take stock” about how he communicates “with people I’m trying to help.”
Sharpe called it “the most offensive word in the English language.”
“People have tried to take the sting away from the word,” she said. “The reality is that can’t happen.”
The lawyer for STRIVE, Diane Krebs, said the group was “disappointed” by the verdict and reviewing its options, including a possible appeal.
With News Wire Services