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Tuesday, September 3, 2013 - 10:48pm
(CNN) - — A federal jury in New York ruled Tuesday that a man who identifies as black and Hispanic and the nonprofit he founded must pay punitive damages to an African-American employee after a previous ruling that the use of the "n-word" is inappropriate among minorities in a workplace.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by Brandi Johnson, who is African-American, against STRIVE, the employment center where she worked, claiming she was a victim of a hostile workplace after enduring verbal harassment and a series of statements filled with profanity and racial slurs from her supervisor. The employment center in East Harlem argued that the use of the word was part of a "tough-love culture."
The jury ruled Tuesday that center founder Rob Carmona must pay $25,000 and his organization must pay $5,000 in punitive damages.
Jurors last week awarded $250,000 in compensatory damages to Johnson, 38, who sued Carmona personally and STRIVE, which he founded in 1984.
Carmona's lawyer, Diane Krebs, issued a statement that said in part: "We are disappointed by the verdict, as we do not believe that it comports with the full facts applicable to the case. Nevertheless, we respect the jury's decision and the judicial process. We are exploring all our options moving forward, including appeal, and look forward to the judicial process taking its entire course."