Home Depot is offering an employee in Albany, New York, his job back after the company recently fired him for speaking up to a customer who hurled racist insults at him.
Maurice Rucker, who is black, was working in the garden center when he asked a customer with a dog to leash his pet while in the store, the Albany Times Union reported on Thursday.
In response, the customer, who is white, reportedly cursed at Rucker and said, “You’re from the ghetto. What do you know?”
Rucker, 60, told the Times Union that the customer said he would not have a job if Donald Trump wasn’t the president and called former President Barack Obama a “Muslim who didn’t know what he was doing.”
Rucker, who has worked at Home Depot for a decade and was named cashier of the month in July, said he responded because he was not going to stand for racist treatment.
He asked the customer to leave and told him, “You’re lucky I’m at work, because if I wasn’t you wouldn’t be talking to me like this.”
Less than a week after the incident, Home Depot fired Rucker. His boss told him that he should have immediately called a manager and should not have approached the man, according to the Times Union.
“I’ve lived all over the country, and I’ve had no one talk to me the way this guy talked to me,” Rucker told WNYT.
A Home Depot spokesperson told WNYT that Rucker was fired for not following protocol.
“The problem here is that he had several opportunities to disengage and contact management to deal with the customer,” Home Depot said. “We’re appalled by this customer’s behavior, but we also must require associates to follow proper protocol to defuse a situation for the sake of their safety and the safety of other associates and customers.”
But the company backtracked on Friday, telling HuffPost that they had “taken another look at this situation, and we are offering Maurice his job back.”