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Calling an employee a “stupid fag” just once is ground for a prima facie case of hostile-workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled.

The Appellate Division on Wednesday reinstated a gay man’s suit against Merrill Lynch, his former employer, likening it to a 1998 state Supreme Court precedent, Taylor v. Metzger, that allowed a hostile-workplace claim to be based on a single racial slur.

“In our view, the patent offensiveness of the ‘stupid fag’ comment renders it quite similar to the comment made to the plaintiff in Taylor,” the judges said in Kwiatkowski v. Merrill Lynch, A-2270-06.

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