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Cincinnati has new policy for city employees caught using the N-word: You're fired

With multiple police officers caught using the N-word in recent months, Cincinnati is taking new action. During a virtual meeting held Thursday, the city unveiled updated language to Administrative Regulation No. 25. It says any city employee who uses discriminatory language will be ”presumptively fired.”

City Solicitor Emily Woerner explains what that means:

"The N-word is an automatic presumption of termination; all other (slurs), it would be a minimum of a 40-hour unpaid suspension, up to a termination, depending on the facts," she said.

An employee won’t face termination if an investigation finds their use of the word was non-discriminatory, as was the case with one detective in Cincinnati's police department.

The updated policy will apply to non-union and union city employees. It does not apply to council members, as the city manager does not have the authority to discipline them.

Additionally, all city employees will be trained on preventing the use of discriminatory language. Interim Chief of Police Teresa Theetge acknowledged that Cincinnati's police officers are the main subjects of this discussion. The focus is largely on making ongoing training mandatory.

"We have the ability — actually, requirement — to have our officers trained three times a year," she said. "We call it 'continued professional training.' "

Theetge acknowledged that police are held to a higher standard, as they are the only city employees in positions of authority to wear body cameras. She plans on implementing non-discriminatory training early next year.

Officials said they expect pushback, but are prepared to stand their ground.

This is how the new policy reads in full:

"Creating a hostile work environment or engaging in discriminatory harassment by usage of the (N-word) or any variation of the n-word will result in termination because its use has no legitimate justification in the workplace and severely undermines the confidence the public has that the actions of City employees are made without a discriminatory intent. Usage of these slurs by employees in the course of their official duties is permitted only when usage of the slur is required by law (such as testimony before a proper legal authority) or to report the usage of the slur to a supervisor. Care will be taken to minimize the use of the slurs to only that which is necessary. If any employee uses the N-word, the department shall conduct a fair and thorough investigation and determine whether the employee used the N-word or a version of the N-word. For usage of the n-word, the presumptive penalty is termination, unless mitigating circumstances are evident."

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Marianna Dionysiou