A federal judge dismissed the race discrimination claims by a former Savannah restaurant manager against Paula Deen on Monday.
This would be great news for the Southern chef, but the lawsuit led to Paula losing many of her lucrative business ventures and her Food Network show.
A former employee named Lisa Jackson filed the lawsuit against Deen, claiming she was abusing her power. During a deposition in May, Deen admitted to previously using the n-word.
The transcript of the deposition leaked online and the fallout began.
Lisa Jackson sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, last year saying she suffered from sexual harassment and racially offensive talk that were unfair to black workers during her five years as manager of Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House.
Jackson, who happens to be white, had her race discrimination claims tossed out. U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. said Jackson has no standing to sue her former employers for what she claims was poor treatment of black workers.
Jackson, at best, “is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination,” Moore said in his ruling. “There are no allegations that defendant Hiers’s racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her.”
The ruling lets stand Jackson’s claims that Hiers sexually harassed her when she worked at the restaurant from 2005 to 2010.
The judge added that to allow Jackson to seek legal recourse for discrimination directed toward other workers “would serve to conscript federal courts as human resource departments that are responsible for imposing and monitoring a federally created standard for harmony in the workplace.”
Jackson’s race-based claims have seriously damaged Paula Deen’s public image. Deen’s corporate sponsors and business partners began dropping like flies.
Deen’s publicist issued a statement today, saying, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed. As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”
Paula’s lawyers previously revealed that Lisa Jackson had blackmailed Deen, claiming she would go public with a smear campaign if the celebrity chef didn’t pay her $1.25 million in hush money.
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