Refusing to dismiss a former secretary’s discrimination complaint against Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, a Manhattan federal judge said the plaintiff had alleged a “continuous course” of discriminatory conduct and also criticized Quinn’s characterization of a racial slur in the complaint.

U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni of the Southern District of New York said she was “surprised” that Quinn “attempted to cast the use of the N-word as a poor attempt at humor or a bad pun. Remarks such as those are unacceptable in a civilized conversation.” She added that when they happen in a workplace, particularly when they come from a supervisor, “not only are they unacceptable, they can be a basis for civil liability.”

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