A Red Lobster restaurant worker who was fired for using the “N” word sought unemployment compensation on the basis that she didn’t intend the word as a racial slur.
A state court ruled on Monday that the context didn’t matter and denied Lorey A. Wolfe’s unemployment claim.
Judge Patricia A. McCullough wrote in the Commonwealth Court that using a racial slur is grounds for misconduct regardless of the user’s intent.
While speaking with co-workers in July of 2014, Wolfe said she “was so overwhelmed and nobody came to help me, I felt like a (n-word)”, PennLive reports. She was fired on the spot.
Woman Who Used “N” Word Because She “Felt Like a N*****” Denied Unemployment CompensationClick to tweet
Even though her employer claimed the slur was directed at a co-worker, Wolfe “alleged that she used the N-word as a figure of speech in a sentence and that it was not directed at a particular person,” the judge wrote.
If a person knows a word is offensive, their intent doesn’t matter, the judge found.