WTXF TV news anchor Tom Burlington has sued his former employer claiming discrimination after he was fired for using the “N-word” in an editorial meeting called at the Philadelphia station to discuss a news story about a mock funeral to bury the “N-word.”
Burlington said he thought the phrase “the N-word” gave the word more power than the word itself. In doing so, he used the word, offending his black colleagues. He apologized to them for any hurt he may have caused.
But the station suspended Burlington and then terminated him months later when his contract expired. He claims he was harassed and discriminated against because of his race. The station has called the suit “meritless.”
Note: The law requires employers to provide a workplace free of harassment and discrimination. Sometimes social customs clash with purely equal treatment of employees. For example, would you fire a black employee for using the “N-word”? Many of these issues can be addressed in company policies that aim to balance everyone’s rights.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Required: Investigating all harassment complaints Not required: Providing a perfect workplace
- Internal thefts and background checks: What if employees withhold consent?
- Back anti-harassment policy with robust training, enforcement
- Watch wiretap law when listening in on disciplinary meetings