Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.

There is a recurring problem in employment matters: elevating a policy or a rule over the substance and taking disciplinary actions that end up harming an employee, very possibly the organization, or both.

A recent story out of Madison, Wisconsin, highlights the problem. An African American security guard was called a racial slur by a student. The guard spoke up for himself and told the student not to refer to him by that word. Good for him for speaking up. His problem? He repeated the slur back when telling the student to not say it. His use of the word, even if to simply say “don’t call me X,” violated the school district’s “zero tolerance” policy against the use of racial slurs. The violation resulted in termination of employment, with the principal explaining that racial slurs are banned, regardless of context. For its rigid adherence to this rule, the school district had to contend with a labor grievance, a walkout protest by students, backlash from the community, and national attention and notoriety. The incident was discussed in the New York Times and also in a Twitter post from Cher, who offered to pay the individual’s legal fees.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Dig Deeper


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.