Should you be fired for a racial slur?

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  1. suiteorchids profile image59
    suiteorchidsposted 14 years ago

    What do you think?

    1. profile image0
      Writer Riderposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Uh, yes!

    2. Drew Breezzy profile image63
      Drew Breezzyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      If you racially attack someone. But racial words are used so frequently if someone makes a joke that one may find has poor taste using a word then no. They should be told not to be to again then if they do firing is cool.

    3. habueld profile image60
      habueldposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yes.  You should be fired if you slur anyone outside of a certain few jobs, comedian being one.  Racial slurs qualify people and for a person in any position, especially one dealing with the public or in the public eye, racial slurs put people in a box and cause them to be seen as less that yourself.

    4. Blogging Erika profile image66
      Blogging Erikaposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Without any details?  I'd have to go with "Yes."

  2. R P Chapman profile image61
    R P Chapmanposted 14 years ago

    Far too general a statement to give a definitive answer. As with most things, it needs a little more context to understand the seriousness of the situation.

    1. Paradise7 profile image69
      Paradise7posted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yep, more details would help.  Generally speaking I like the idea of a zero tolerance policy for racism in the workplace.  Also a zero tolerance policy for harrassment.

      1. johnwalton profile image39
        johnwaltonposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I couldn't agree more

  3. huck tooey profile image61
    huck tooeyposted 14 years ago

    Hard to answer without more detail. What was the context in which it was said  amongst friends, in anger, over heard by a sensitive co-worker or customer. Give us more to go on. All that being said tolerence for any racist remarks or actions in the work place or anywhere else made in anger or to put some one down

  4. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    In general, I think so - if it was spoken to anyone associated with work.  Work is supposed to be a professional environment, and there's no place for any number of different kinds of talk at work.  I suppose in some circumstances, if the offender doesn't intend to be offensive and for some reason thought the remark was "kidding around", a warning might do.

  5. lrohner profile image68
    lrohnerposted 14 years ago

    It depends on what you mean by a "racial slur". I would hate to tell a co-worker that she can't reach "Bob" because he probably went out to grab a cup of coffee, only to find out that he's Colombian and I just made a racist remark. Or maybe I offended Seamus when I asked him if he was going to grab a beer after work.

    I don't use the "n" word, never have and never will. I find it personally revolting. And yet, every time my kids turn on any music, I hear it used over and over and over. But I would certainly hate to see anyone get fired for singing a popular song.

    This is not intended to be a pun, but racism is far from being black and white. A zero tolerance policy would result, I suspect, in a whole lot of innocent people losing their jobs.

  6. Len Cannon profile image87
    Len Cannonposted 14 years ago

    No, I think racial slurs should be encouraged in the work place.  Of course you should be fired.

  7. Aya Katz profile image83
    Aya Katzposted 14 years ago

    Don't you think it should be up to the person who owns the workplace to decide? For instance, here in Hubpages there are rules about what we may or may not say. We agreed to abide by them, and Hubpages management gets to decide what the rules are and how they are enforced. Isn't that how it should be everywhere? Owners decide.

    1. Misha profile image63
      Mishaposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      +1 smile

    2. gary777g profile image64
      gary777gposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yes Aya, you have hit it 100%.  I have worked places where owners were jerks - and so far in America that is still legal and so is my right to find work elsewhere.  And I have been fortunate enough to be on the other end too - I would not want any branch of government to tell me who I had to fire and why, that is up to the owner.

  8. Beth100 profile image68
    Beth100posted 14 years ago

    Should be zero tolerance in a perfect picture.  Reality is, it happens and its overlooked by the receiver, the sender and onlookers.  There are too many mixed messages being sent out via music, videos, talks shows, paper, etc.  How do you regulate that to enforce zero tolerance?  Must be done on a per corporate basis.

  9. profile image0
    Leta Sposted 14 years ago

    I have seen the 'racial slur' zero tolerance policy turned in bizarre ways towards individuals, and actually sat in defense of a white man who was accused by a young black woman who was basically, 'sowing some wild oats.'  In that instance, which was very contrived, I feel an injustice was done, and a handicapped man was fired who never found another job.

    With people running around all over publicly and on the internet calling the President of the United States a racist, and those who openly support him a racist and asking that we tolerate that language (and to some extent, because even idiots have the right to what they, I guess, understand is free speech, we do tolerate that language), perhaps more tolerance should be shown in this instance. 

    Education foremost and reprimands secondly sometimes help.  Firing someone on a zero tolerance policy for a single word at times, in my experience and from what I've seen, is a bit extreme.

    In short, the issue is complex and shouldn't be settled based on simpleton political or other philosophies.

    1. lrohner profile image68
      lrohnerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Lita, I never thought this would happen, but I totally agree with you on every point. Well said.

    2. Benz B profile image60
      Benz Bposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      One person's rights to even free speech ends where another person's rights begin.  A racial slur is just that "a racial slur!"  It doesn't matter if a white man said it to a black woman or if a black woman said it to a white man.  Even your "sowing some wild oats" comment could be taken as being inappropriate in a conversation with other females in the workplace and grounds to have you sent to HR for disciplinary action because out of 5 of you 4 may not be offended by it but 1 may and that is the problem.  If you have to question if its wrong or right to say then just don't say it and everyone keeps their jobs.

    3. profile image0
      A Texanposted 14 years agoin reply to this


  10. suiteorchids profile image59
    suiteorchidsposted 14 years ago

    Thanks for your comments, This is in regards between co-worker, management or so forth. I personally agree with a zero-tolerance policy. However the reality is based on personal beliefs that were let of out of the bag so to speak. While we would all like to know whom we are working with or who works for us. The merit based on quality of work contributed I am sure is also a likely factor. Thanks again for partipating.

  11. prettydarkhorse profile image62
    prettydarkhorseposted 14 years ago

    It should be an office policy, but it should be stated in the employment contract and properly defined. And it should not be outright removal from work but at least one warning, and then removal.

  12. bgpappa profile image78
    bgpappaposted 14 years ago

    Should you, depends on context.

    Will they, depends on office policies or the state you are in. 

    If you work for the government, count on it.

    1. profile image0
      Writer Riderposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Hopefully it has more than to do with laws. Character should be a huge concern.

  13. Manly Man profile image61
    Manly Manposted 14 years ago

    prettydarkhorse & lita covered the subject pretty well. Employers should not tolerate racial slurs in the workplace because doing so would not be right and because doing so can result in legal problems. However, I'm not a fan of mindless zero tolerance policies because they often result in actions that lack commonsense and fairness.

    As several people already said, the question doesn't provide enough facts to allow a firm answer. For one thing, I don't believe "racial slur" has a generally accepted definition. Something that might be taken as a racial slur by one person might not be so considered by someone else. I would want to know exactly what was said or done and the context and intent of the remark or action. Whether the slur was directed at a specific individual or not might also be relevant. Further, before taking action against the employee I would make sure that I could prove that the accusation was true. I  repeat: employers should not tolerate racial slurs in the work place.

    I recently represented unemployment compensation claimants who quit their jobs as a result of repeated racist remarks by their supervisors. One was a Mexican-American dental assistant whose dentist persisted in telling insulting jokes about Latinos and African-Americans and making sexually offensive remarks to the women in the office. The judge ruled that this behavior by the dentist was good cause for the woman to quit without losing her eligibilty for unemployment compensation. The other case involved a claimant of Middle Eastern ancestry and appearance whose supervisor and others persisted in calling a terrorist. After objecting to his supervisor and the personnel department to no avail he quit. The judge ruled that post-911, calling someone a terrorist, even in jest, was not something an Arab-American employee should be expected to tolerate. He ruled that the employee was entitled to unemployment compensation even though he quit his job. In both cases the employees who quit may well have had grounds for a discrimination complaint against their employer for being subjected to a "hostile work environment."

  14. profile image0
    pmccrayposted 14 years ago

    What I don't understand is why the question needed to be asked. I put these questions to you;

    1.  Why is it necessary to point out anyones differences? 

    2.  Why do some feel it necessary to even use racial slurs do you not understand how offensive and unkind it is to others? 

    3.  It's like being a bully why should the victim get thick skinned, why does one feel the need to bully another in the first place? 

    4.  Why is it funny to make someone else feel uncomfortable? 

    5.  Is your esteem so blown that this type of behaviour makes you feel better about yourself? 

    Yes a body should be fired if you don't understand how hurtful your comments to someone can be maybe you should be taught a lesson. 

    We as Americans are asking the world to become a more peaceful place and should all do our part.  Each of us is responsible for our individual behavior and if firing will teach one person that responsibility then so be it.

  15. Sexy jonty profile image59
    Sexy jontyposted 14 years ago


    1. Brian Leighton profile image58
      Brian Leightonposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I second that opinion.

  16. Theo Selles profile image63
    Theo Sellesposted 14 years ago

    I think that there needs to be a distinction made between "no tolerance" and immediate firing. You can and should have a no tolerance for racism policy, but that does not mean a person would get fired immediately.

    Firing would depend a great deal on context and history, and particularly on the offending person's response to having the racist comment brought to their attention.

    As with most things, a rascist comment can be an opportunity for learning and growth. If it's seen that way, and if the offender demonstrates a contriteness, a desire to make things right for the people offended, and a willingness to learn, everyone can benefit. You don't want people following a policy out of fear so much as out of a genuine desire to create a welcoming and safe work place for all.

    Thanks for this. You've given me a great Hub idea.


    1. Ralph Deeds profile image66
      Ralph Deedsposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Good points. A lot can be done between ignoring and immediate firing. Taking action short of firing does not mean that racial slurs are being tolerated. Most people will respond to discussion, counselling and warnings. If they don't they should be fired.

    2. profile image0
      Writer Riderposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I doubt social conditioning can change as quickly as that. When someone holds that type of opinion, they'll say or do something racist later down the line.

    3. rmcrayne profile image91
      rmcrayneposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      As Theo indicated, there's a difference in "zero tolerance" and immediate firing.  The military has a zero tolerance policy for discrimination.  And there's usually a person or a team, depending on the size of the installation, to investigate complaints.  But you don't get fired from the military.  Article 15 maybe?  But racial slur?  I've never heard of a case.  That would be really ugly.  The offender would probably be relocated to another element or unit, to a really crappy job.  In a way, fired.

  17. Theo Selles profile image63
    Theo Sellesposted 14 years ago

    Social conditioning or not, some racist remarks are unintentional and are rooted in ignorance rather than a deliberate desire to do harm. It's also true that we all have biases or blind spots that can emerge under stress. Not one of us is perfect, either, so making room for learning and growth rather than immediate termination seems to be the fairest and most reasoned approach.

    Think of the culture you wish to create as an organization. The best cultures are not fear based or punishment oriented, they instead make room for mistakes and open discussion and growth in understanding and acceptance. A culture that includes the value of open dialogue makes invites offending parties and offenders to have discussions which broaden understanding of discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, age, and disabilites. I would want my culture to be curiosity based rather than fear based.

  18. esamples profile image58
    esamplesposted 14 years ago

    Yes I think it should not be tolerated but discretion should be used at deciding on immediate dismissal, some people have had years to grow their hatred and with just a little discipline would learn to keep it under control. Some organizations get a bit carried away, I worked for one were someone was disciplined merely for wearing the rebel flag displayed upon their back & someone else complained.Haveing lived in the South myself I can tell you that it held no racial implications for me as I am sure it does not for millions of others. That being said I think that some definite guidelines should be set down by someone on what does and does not constitute racism. Any more thought on the subject?

  19. profile image56
    RakhiChowdharyposted 14 years ago

    Not too clear, need more specification. Again to say it depends on the owner solely. But, in general you should not be fired for a racial slur.

  20. profile image0
    poetlorraineposted 14 years ago

    This get's a little complicated.   I would never make a racial comment, i was brought up in England and from a child was trained not to.   

    Here in Ireland Racial comments are thrown around all the time, this country, when i arrived 12 years ago had no black people at all, but now, because they have arrived, and get educated here, they are taking lot's of jobs, as the economy has been affected.  Local people who have had there jobs for say 30 years are suddenly losing them and getting annoyed, thus racial comments are flying around a lot...

    I personally don't know about sacking just for a comment,  i got in serious trouble once for saying a Philipino nurse, had rice everday for her dinner,  she reported me and i had a disciplinary hearing.  She does eat rice every day, i only asked her did she get bored with it......

    Nothing is ever as cut and dried as giving an answer to the question you asked....

    1. rmcrayne profile image91
      rmcrayneposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      A lot of Hispanics moved into my hometown.  They took jobs that no one else wanted.  THey worked hard, had a strong sense of family and were financially responsible.  The hometown folks threw the racial comments around.  Some folks will always be that way.

    2. Ralph Deeds profile image66
      Ralph Deedsposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Good point. What is or is not a racist remark is susceptible to varying opinions and interpretations. Some people are sensitive to and offended by what they perceive to be racist or sexist remarks. Some comments are blantantly racist. That's why zero tolerance approaches are problematical.

      1. The Rope profile image61
        The Ropeposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Well said!  I completely agree.  Slurs are not always recognized either.  I was just asked last week why "gerry rigging" was a slur and found that many of those listening didn't realize the implications either - except one who takes great offense at the phrase having grown up in Germany.

  21. tksensei profile image61
    tksenseiposted 14 years ago
  22. kephrira profile image59
    kephriraposted 14 years ago

    It definitely depends on context, and particularly whether it was meant in a nasty way.

    In the UK there was a big furore a while ago about someone on a reality tv show who used the N word to a black contestant. She was thrown of the show straight away if I remember correctly. But the thing is it was said whilst they were dancing together, in a friendly way, the same way that black people often use it with each other ("you go n..."). This was clearly cringeworthy and pretty dumb, but nobody thought it was meant as an insult or with racist intentions. It seems cruel to punish people for being naive, or for an ill judged but well intentioned remark.

  23. jobister profile image60
    jobisterposted 14 years ago

    Most definitely.

  24. terrilc2 profile image58
    terrilc2posted 14 years ago

    You can say what ever you want too in the privcy of your home.  But I can't say :  redneck @@#$##$/ @#$@#&&#$%@#$!EW#$@$#$#^E^#@^^#Y$#$%$$#%#$%#$^^$^Q#^%^&$@&$%$$%& At Work!  GET IT!

    1. profile image0
      A Texanposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Who you calling redneck @@#$##$/ @#$@#&&#$%@#$!EW#$@$#$#^E^#@^^#Y$#$%$$#%#$%#$^^$^Q#^%^&$@&$%$$%&

  25. LRobbins profile image45
    LRobbinsposted 14 years ago

    I think you should be given a written warning first (i.e. give the person the benefit of the doubt that they really didn't realize their comment was offensive) and then if it happens again they should be fired.

  26. TN21 profile image61
    TN21posted 14 years ago

    If it involves a customer then yes, fire the worker on the spot.

    A first offense between co-workers then maybe a penalty (a few days off) and a harsh warning but no termination. If it's a repeated offense and he or she have been warned before then fire him/her.

    I think an open and honest communication between workers and employers is the best policy. Both parties should know what to do and how to act in a business environment.


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