A man is claiming that Home Depot fired him after he was the victim of a customer’s racially charged rant.

The company said the man did not follow "proper protocol" in his response to the customer, but in a statement to The Hill on Friday said it reversed its decision on firing him.

Maurice Rucker told a local NBC affiliate that he was working at a Home Depot store in Albany, N.Y., on July 12 when a customer approached his register with a dog not on a leash. 

The 60-year-old Rucker, who is black, said he told the unknown customer: "Sir, when you have your dog in here we prefer that you keep it on a leash."

But in response, Rucker said the customer told him: “F--- you. You're an asshole, you're a piece of shit.”

Rucker said the shocking response was just the beginning of a rant filled with insults, including some he says were racist. 


“If Trump wasn't president, you wouldn't even have a job,” the man said, according to Rucker's account to the local station. “He said, ‘You're from the ghetto, what do you know?' "

"I've lived all over the country, and I've had no one talk to me the way that this guy talked to me," Rucker told the local station. 

Rucker said he eventually responded, "You're lucky I'm at work, because if I wasn't, this wouldn't be happening, or you wouldn't be talking to me like this."

Rucker said the man left the store, and when he returned to get his forgotten dog he unleashed another round of insults at Rucker.

A few days later, Rucker said he was fired. According to him, other employees told him the man called his employer to complain about him.

"He said that I was being racist and that I said I would knock him down. He just told him a bunch of lies and it seems like they believed him," Rucker said.

Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes told the local station that Rucker was terminated because he did not follow the company’s protocol for dealing with upset customers.

"The problem here is that he had several opportunities to disengage and contact management to deal with the customer,” Holmes said. “We're appalled by this customer's behavior, but we also must require associates to follow proper protocol to defuse a situation for the sake of their safety and the safety of other associates and customers." 

"We’ve taken another look at this and we are offering Maurice his job back," a Home Depot spokesman told The Hill later on Friday.

Albany's Times Union reported that a protest was planned for Saturday morning outside the store that fired Rucker.

Rucker, who said he had been working with the company for 10 years and had just been named "Cashier of the Month,” had told the station he was considering taking legal action against the company.

The incident follows several other racially charged confrontations, many of which were filmed, that have gone viral recently.

Updated at 6:52 p.m.