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Home Depot rehires black worker who defended himself against customer’s racist tirade

The customer isn't always right.

PARAMUS, NJ, UNITED STATES - 2018/06/17: The Home Depot store in Paramus, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
PARAMUS, NJ, UNITED STATES - 2018/06/17: The Home Depot store in Paramus, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Home Depot has reversed course and rehired Maurice Rucker. The Albany Times-Union reports that three days after firing him for verbally defending himself against racist taunts from a customer, they have offered him back his job amid a firestorm of public outrage.

The retailer had initially terminated Rucker, a black employee at its Albany, New York location, over his encounter with the racist customer. After Rucker asked the customer to put the dog he brought into the store on a leash, the customer went on a tirade.

The customer allegedly hurled racist insults his way, saying that Rucker was “from the ghetto.” The customer also apparently couldn’t help from bringing up the current president, reportedly saying, “if Trump wasn’t president, you wouldn’t even have a job” (Rucker, in fact, had been employed with Home Depot for a decade, far longer than Trump’s political career).

Rucker says he stood up for himself and gave a short, firm reply to the man, telling him “You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.”

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Instead of defending their employee who endured racist abuse on the job, Home Depot decided that firing Rucker was the correct move.

An avalanche of criticism followed, with numerous media outlets across the country picking up the story. The public clearly sided with Rucker, and made their displeasure about his firing known. In addition, a crowdfunding campaign on his behalf has so far raised more than $2,000.

Seeing this, Home Depot quickly had a change of heart and realized that the firing was definitely the wrong move. A spokesman for the company said, “We’ve taken another look at this and we are offering Maurice his job back.”