The issue has split federal courts, v some saying that the usage of the slur is so major that even an isolated occurrence can develop a insurance claim of discrimination.

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The can be fried Court top top Monday turned down an appeal native a previous operating room aide at a Texas hospital who claimed his exposure to the N-word, one of the many offensive state in the English language, produced a hostile occupational environment.

The issue has split the nation"s commonwealth courts. Some have said the the usage of the slur is so significant that also an isolated incident can establish a claim of discrimination. Others have said a single use of the word is a "mere utterance," and doesn"t fulfill the test.

The appeal was filed by Robert Collier, who was fired after working at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas native 2009 come 2016. The filed a discrimination lawsuit, saying the he and also other black color employees to be treated worse 보다 others. Many notably, that said, the N-word to be scratched right into the wall of an elevator that he and other employees offered to reach the cafeteria.


He stated the hospital administration took no activity after he complained around it, and also eventually words was roughly scratched out. Parkland claimed it investigated several complaints from Collier, but none associated racially attack comments or graffiti.

A commonwealth district judge tossed out his case, concluding the no reasonable jury would uncover the hospital"s command sufficiently hostile due to the fact that it was no directed at him and also because the result on his work, through his own admission, was marginal. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling.

An employer violates federal polite rights regulation when a work environment is therefore pervaded by distinguish that conditions of employment room altered. That legislation "is emphatically no a general civility code," the hospital’s lawyers told the can be fried Court.

It depends on context, castle said, suggesting that Collier failed come prove the the graffiti interfered through his task or developed an abusive work environment.

Brian Wolfman, a professor in ~ the Georgetown university Law center who represented Collier in his appeal come the supreme Court, claimed that as long as the split among the lower court persists about the gyeongju epithet, "Black employee in a far-ranging swath that the nation will, at a minimum, be required to endure its an extensive and repetitive use."

When can be fried Court righteousness Brett Kavanaugh to be on the ar of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, he joined a ruling allowing a lawsuit to proceed against the federal mortgage lender Fannie Mae. The court stated a single use the the N-word "might well have actually been adequate to create a hostile work environment."

Kavanaugh, in a concurring opinion at the time, wrote, "No other word in the English language for this reason powerfully or soon calls to mind our country"s long and also brutal battle to get rid of racism and also discrimination against African-Americans."

The NAACP legitimate Defense and Education money urged the supreme Court to take the case. A conclusion that words alone, also the most egregious racial epithets, can"t assistance a hostile job-related environment insurance claim "disregards the real-world influence of racial harassment on black color employees and, together a result, diminishes workplace protections versus harassment and discrimination," the team said.

As is its normal practice, the court did no state why the rejected Collier"s appeal.

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Pete Williams is one NBC News correspondent that covers the justice Department and the supreme Court, based in Washington.