While in every day life we would answer that the use of the N word is beyond objectionable, A court of law is not every day life, and is held to different level on how they must rule. Below is from indeed.com and I think it show's how just the use of the word isn't enough FOR A COURT.
What is a hostile work environment?
A hostile work environment is one where an employee's job is made impossible because of the discriminatory words and actions of a supervisor, manager or coworker. Employees at all levels can be responsible for creating a hostile work environment. One example of a hostile work environment is sexual harassment that occurs from one employee to another. In a different example, a hostile work environment occurs when a management team discriminates against an employee to try and make them quit in light of a compliance issue, like a safety concern or injury.
Requirements for a hostile work environment
While the term is sometimes used broadly to describe work behaviors that are not desirable, a true hostile work environment must meet certain criteria as follows:
Work performance is hindered
To establish a hostile work environment an employee must be able to show that the behavior, communications and actions of a coworker or supervisor make it impossible to do their job effectively. The behavior in question has to change any reasonable expectation of what it means to do the job for the employee. A hostile work environment consists of severe, pervasive and unwelcome behavior, words or actions that, if not amended, would make the employee unable to function in their role.
Next, the coworker or supervisor accused of creating a hostile work environment has to display behavior that is consistent with discrimination. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and regulations maintained by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) define discrimination. The behavior has to discriminate against someone of a protected class, meaning discrimination that occurs based on gender, race, age, disability or religion.
Effective handling has not occurred
When an employee makes a hostile work environment claim, the reasonable assumption is that the employer has witnessed or been notified of the behavior and has yet to intervene in an effective manner. As a result, the employee is responsible for fostering a hostile work environment.
Burden of proof
Claims of a hostile work environment require regulators to look at the experience of the employee reporting it to ensure it meets the criteria established to make a case. This means the burden of proof falls on the victim of the behavior to establish a viable claim that includes discrimination that is severe, pervasive, unwelcome and that adds additional burdens to the employee's career movement.
People examining the case may ask these questions:
Was the behavior in question unwelcome?
Did the incidents occur multiple times over a time period?
Did the incidents occur against someone whose class is protected?
Was the incident a hostile one?