View Full Version : Judge defends stuttering transit worker who repeatedly used the N-word

The Bobster
04-12-2016, 08:39 AM

Judge defends stuttering transit worker who repeatedly used the N-word
By Rich Calder
April 12, 2016 | 1:13am

New York City Transit wants to fire a worker for repeatedly using the N-word during a dispute with a colleague, but a judge recommended leniency after learning the offender is a stutterer who was taunted constantly.

Administrative Law Judge Ingrid Addison recommended instead that rail-car worker Zafar Shahbaz be suspended 20 days for the October 2014 altercation at the agency’s Jamaica maintenance shop.

“I find the [transit] authority’s request for termination to be disproportionate to the offense,” she wrote in a nonbinding decision.

Addison said that while she “does not . . . endorse” Shahbaz’s behavior, she believes that colleague Chad Allum “discriminated against [Shahbaz] when he consistently called respondent ‘stupid’ and ‘idiot,’ and that this was based on respondent’s perceived disability and his heavily accented language, and thus, his national origin.”

Shahbaz is a Pakistani-American who has worked at NYC Transit for 23 years.

“Thus, respondent’s use of the N-word to Mr. Allum appeared to be the eruption of repressed anger at Allum’s protracted derision and demeaning behavior towards him,” the judge said.

Allum testified that the incident occurred at the shop’s parking lot after he saw Shahbaz “smirking” following a work dispute and called him a “selfish bastard.” Shahbaz allegedly responded, “If I’m a selfish bastard, you’re a n—-r.” :D

MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the agency is still reviewing the ruling.