Fired racist demands unemployment because Trump made hate speech okay

HARRISBURG, PA - APRIL 29, 2017: President Donald Trump points and shouts at what he calls the "dishonest" media during a speech to mark 100 days in office the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. Evan El-Amin / Shutterstock

Despite the administration’s denials that Donald Trump is blatantly racist, the rest of the country hears him loud and clear. Even worse, many of his supporters have started emulating him.

We’ve seen neo-Nazis rally in the street, an increase in hate crimes, and white people across the country verbally assaulting people of color regularly. So is it any surprise that some folks feel emboldened to freely express racist insults like their mentor?

Angela Diers, an Iowa woman who was fired for loudly telling her co-workers that she hated “f–king Mexicans,” is fighting for unemployment benefits, claiming that Trump’s election has made hate speech okay in the workplace.

Diers argued that after the election, it became common for factory workers to disparage minority groups. She feels she was unfairly singled out while others weren’t displicined.

“We talk about everything out on the floor — whether it’s the president or the vice president,” Diers testified at her unemployment hearing. “There has been talk on the floor: Some people don’t like blacks, certain people don’t like Mexicans, certain people don’t like foreigners. We talk, and then we just move on.”

And she was able to convince an administrative law judge to rule in her favor.

“Since President Trump’s election, it was common for workers to talk about hating blacks or hating foreigners,” the judge wrote in her ruling. “If management wishes all workers to be treated with respect, it must enforce respectful treatment amongst co-workers and supervisors, and apply those expectations consistently throughout the chain of command.”

Diers’ former employer, commercial washer and dryer manufacturer Dexter Laundry, appealed the ruling and Iowa’s Employment Appeals Board overturned the judge’s decision. This would disqualify her from receiving benefits.

The board said that her “comments fell squarely within the type of behavior the employer’s work rules specifically prohibit. Her clarification that she only meant ‘illegal’ Mexicans does not absolve her of culpability.”

Still, Diers insists she will continue her fight. She plans to appeal the decision to district court.

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