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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 29274
Experience:  Former judicial law clerk, lawyer
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On 2 separate occasions my supervisor used the "n" word.

Customer Question

On 2 separate occasions my supervisor used the "n" word. Once in front of another employee and myself saying I used it in the past while we were not working together. My coworker and I were both floored by this. It was during business hours in our open showroom. I told her I would have and never use that word. My co-worker more so looked at her as if he could not believe she said it. I felt embarrassed and belittled by this.
Another time was when she told me that she had to go visit her in backward in-laws and was not happy about it. Telling me that I would not be welcome where they live because they love using n-word, n-word and repeating it. I am astounded that someone could say it so freely in the work place and to me. This has been real hard for me to get help and afraid of reaching out to hr in fear of losing my job. Time has past and Now she is trying to write me up for every little thing. What should I do? Should I approach HR. I don't have exact dates
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this is happening.

Definitely tell HR. That is highly inappropriate language for the workplace, especially if your supervisor is ever in a position to be overheard by customers or clients. Your supervisor is creating a hostile work environment for people of color. You could actually file a lawsuit, and if you win, you may be entitled to have your employer pay for your attorney's fees.

The first step in a discrimination lawsuit is a Right to Sue Letter, which you can request from the EEOC. They will investigate and either bring their own lawsuit or give you a letter saying you can bring it yourself. But you could also have a local attorney contact your employer on your behalf. A good place to find someone nearby is

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Is there a time limit? Would I write my letter and send to hr? Do I need dates? It's probably been since last summer or before
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

To bring a suit under federal law, you'd need to notify the EEOC within 300 days after the incident occurs. For ongoing behavior, you're OK as long as you bring the claim within 180 days of the LAST time the supervisor behaved inappropriately. Once you get a Right to Sue letter, you have 90 days to file a lawsuit.

To bring a state law discrimination claim, the deadline is 180 days if you want the state to pursue it. But you could also file a lawsuit within up to one year if it were phrased as an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. That requires an ongoing pattern of behavior, which usually means more than 2 incidents, but you can use multiple examples of inappropriate racial comments or behavior directed at you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You can write a letter and send to HR yourself or have a lawyer due it. HR can speak to your supervisor even if it's too late for you to sue, to help ensure that this type of thing doesn't happen again.