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Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33167
Experience:  JD, 17 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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Can I be fired in California for during a conversation with

Customer Question

Can I be fired in California for during a conversation with a co-worker I used the phrase "nigga" I did not use it in a derogatory way and I did not address it to anyone in particular. I was just overheard making the comment.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 3 years ago.

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Do you have an employment contract which provides that you can only be terminated for good cause?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I work at Sports Authority a retail sporting store. I have been there for 6 years and never had a write up. I have read the employee hand book but it doesnt say anything today they issued a final written and almost terminated me.

Expert:  Tina replied 3 years ago.

I see. Thank you for providing this additional information, John.

Since employers do risk liability of being sued for race discrimination and this particular word is usually very inflammatory and offensive to many minorities, most employers would typically take very harsh action against employees for using the word, up to and including termination of their employment.

There would normally not be any recourse against an employer by an employee who used this word and was disciplined or terminated for it I'm afraid, as it is generally not an acceptable word to use in the workplace in any context.

Even though you did not use the word in a derogatory way or call anyone particular that name, employers do have an interest in preventing employees from using such language at the workplace since they do risk liability if they were to permit it. I'm glad you were not terminated, but I would strongly advice against using this type of language in the workplace since most employers would react strongly to it.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have received anything less, please reply back as I am happy to address follow-up questions. Kindly rate my service when we have finished our communication. Thank you!


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