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Man fired from Home Depot for standing up to racist customer files lawsuit against company

By Victor Ochieng

The Albany man who got fired from Home Depot for defending himself against a racist customer has filed a civil lawsuit against the company. He filed his complaint with the State Division of Human Rights, citing discrimination under the state’s human rights law and U.S. Civil Rights Act. Maurice Rucker made head-lines after the public caught wind of his predicament following the incident. Many people even rallied to boycott the Home depot for their decision to fire him, and later the company announced that they were recalling this decision. Rucker is however, reported to have landed another job, declining the offer from Home Depot.

In his lawsuit, Rucker argues that the megastore would not have fired a white employee in the same situation. The 66-year-old Black man believes that the company fired him based on racial biasness and not for any other reason. In his suit, he is asking for payment for damages for his pain and suffering, attorney fees and back pay.

The lawsuit is based on a July 12 incident that had Rucker facing a white customer who called  him all sorts of racial slurs. The customer walked into the store with a dog that was unleashed. This being against protocol or the rules of the store, Rucker decided to confront the customer by asking him to leash his pet while inside the store. That is where things got heated. The customer responded to his request in a very harsh way. The customer went ahead to spew his slurs, throwing in some F-words in the process. He said, “F**k you. You’re an a*****e you’re a piece of s**t. If Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job. You’re from the ghetto, what do you know?”

However, Rucker got fired not for insulting the customer or disrespecting him but for not calling the manager to handle the situation. Instead the 66-year-old told the customer, “lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t, this wouldn’t be happening, or you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.”

Firing Rucker five days after the incident got the Home Depot under serious fire. People took to social media, creating an avalanche of criticism against the store, and this in turn got them to rehire Rucker back. But the pain he felt working for the company for 10 years and getting fired for such an incident, Rucker decided to reject the offer. And by God’s grace, he landed another job with Albany County Probation Department.

According to Times Union, in the lawsuit against the Home Depot, Rucker, “…Claimed in the complaint that he had the right under federal civil rights law to verbally defend himself against the slurs…”

This becomes one of the situations that has been happening in our country, bringing to light the depth of racial divide that is evident in the nation. Though some people may believe that it is a none-issue until it affects them directly, this is a matter that needs to be addressed sooner than later to save future generations.

 

 

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