(CN) – A university employee was properly fired for her “unacceptable” racist comments about black workers, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled.
Pamela C. Granger, who had worked for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 19 years, was fired after Isabelle Jones-Parker complained that Granger subjected her to “racism, harassment, and workplace hostility.”
A university investigation revealed that one employee overheard Granger refer to Jones-Parker as “that n—er.” Another employee heard Granger say she would never hire another black person.
Granger also confiscated a Black History Month workbook belonging to Jones-Parker and asked Granger’s boyfriend to throw it away.
On appeal, Granger claimed that those incidents did not justify her dismissal. Judge McGee disagreed.
“By uttering (the n-word) in the workplace, where petitioner was overhead by one of her subordinates, petitioner undermined her authority and exposed respondent to embarrassment and potential legal liability,” McGee wrote.
“We hold petitioner’s unacceptable personal conduct provided respondent just cause to terminate petitioner’s employment without any warning or lesser punishment.”