Home Depot (265213)

A Black man n Albany, New York, was fired after 10 years at Home Depot after he got into it with a customer who wouldn’t leash his dog while in the store. The customer also railed on Maurice Rucker, using racially charged language. Home Depot said it fired Rucker because he didn’t follow procedure when confronting the man. After the incident got media attention, Home Depot tried to bring Rucker back, but he has refused to return, saying the store only asked him back after local media got wind of the incident. Home Depot told the Washington Post it initially fired Rucker for failing to “disengage and alert management about a customer confrontation,” spokesman Matthew Harrigan wrote in an email. But by Friday (July 20), the company backtracked, telling the Post it rescinded the termination and would give Rucker back pay. But Rucker, who worked for the company for 10 years, on Monday told the Post he has no plans to return. Home Depot’s decision “has nothing to do with me,” Rucker said in an interview. “It has to do with the media reaction to them firing me… The fact they can fire me after 10 years for reacting to someone who is racist is insane.” Rucker told the Post his decision to not return is largely based on his poor experiences with the Albany store. He said he felt underappreciated, underpaid and overlooked. “I felt like there wasn’t a whole lot of love for me there,” he said. Rucker said that before the July encounter, his superiors twice wrote him up. The first incident happened at a previous store for poor customer service and was done in absentia, he said. Rucker said he was not alerted to this write-up until his second, which occurred at the Albany store after he threw fertilizer in the wrong trashcan. “I went to work every day thinking I could be fired. Every task I did, I wondered if I could get fired for this,” Rucker said. “There was a passive bias toward me at that particular store.” Since his story has made headlines, Rucker said he received an outpouring of support — including from Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, who last week called him to discuss employment with the county government. “What happened to Mr. Rucker was nothing short of an injustice,” McCoy told the Post through a spokesman. “No one deserves to be treated with such hostility, and I was concerned with the way the situation was handled. [His] former colleagues and customers have all attested to his professionalism at work, and I look forward to meeting with him.” Rucker, who is a musician, has started driving for Lyft to compensate for his lack of income; a GoFundMe has raised more than $3,000 for him in the past three days. Rucker said he is now probing his legal options. The July 9 incident escalated after Rucker asked the customer to leash his dog so he would be in compliance with the store’s policy, he said.