A Black man has filed a civil rights lawsuit against Home Depot after the company fired him for verbally defending himself against a white customer who abused him with racial slurs.
Maurice Rucker, who worked 10 years for Home Depot, filed his claim on Monday with the New York State Division of Human Rights, accusing the megastore of discriminating against him, the Albany Times Union reported.
Home Depot would not have fired a white employee in the same situation, Rucker’s lawsuit argued. The 66-year-old man was demanding payment for attorney fees, back pay and damages for his pain and suffering.
The lawsuit stemmed from a July 12 incident while Rucker was working in the garden center of an Albany, New York store. Rucker asked a white customer with a dog to leash his pet while in the store.
“You’re from the ghetto. What do you know?” the man spewed, sprinkling a few F-bombs in his rant that didn’t end there. The customer added that President Donald Trump was the only reason that Rucker had a job because President Barack Obama didn’t know what he was doing—throwing in the lie that Obama was a Muslim.
“You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t you wouldn’t be talking to me like this,” Rucker replied, asking the customer to leave the store.
Five days later, Home Depot fired Rucker, saying he did not follow protocol when handling the situation. After finding itself under an avalanche of criticism on social media, Home Depot reversed itself and offered to rehire Rucker.
But Rucker rejected the offer and landed another job with the Albany County Probation Department.