Clinic Worker Accuses Supervisor of Using "Racial Code"

August 11, 2006 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a suit in San Francisco federal court against a medical clinic supervisor for using racial "code words" to intimidate an African American worker.

Tomeika Broussard, 29, claimed her supervisor at Los Gatos Medical Clinic used the word “reggin,” the common racial slur spelled backward. Broussard was was fired in 2004 after she complained to her superiors, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

“Even though the n-word is backward, it doesn’t remove the fact that it’s an inflammatory racial slur,” said Sanya Hill Maxion, an EEOC attorney working on the case, according to the newspaper. “We’re seeing more and more cases these days in which code words are being used to cloak discrimination. We’re starting to recognize that this is a problem.”

After failed attempts at a settlement, Broussard has turned to the court system and is now seeking back pay and underdetermined punitive damages.

Broussard also alleges that she was warned when she came to work for the clinic in 2003 that her supervisor used racial code words.