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Paula Deen discrimination case dismissed by judge

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 13, 2013 at 8:25 AM  |  Updated Aug. 13, 2013 at 1:33 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 13 (UPI) -- A federal judge handed Paula Deen some much-needed good news.

The discrimination lawsuit filed against Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, was dismissed after U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled the plaintiff was not eligible to sue for racial discrimination because she was white.

"At best, plaintiff is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination," Moore wrote.

Lisa Jackson, a former employee of Deen and Hiers, said she witnessed numerous acts of violence, discrimination and racism over five years of employment at the siblings' restaurants, The Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, both in Savannah, Ga.

The sexual harassment and abusive treatment components of the lawsuit are allowed to stand.

Jackson's lawsuit alleges a "racially biased attitude prevailed throughout and pervaded defendants restaurant operations," including forcing African-American staff to use the back entrance.

She claimed the atmosphere caused her "immense personal and work related emotional and physical distress" because "employees came to her complain and for help, which she felt obligated to give but was unable to fully provide."

"The conduct denies her right to associate in the workplace with persons of other races... harmonious working relationships with her African-American subordinates... and "the right to work free from racial harassment," the suit alleged.

Judge Moore ruled Jackson provided "no allegations that defendant Hiers' racially offensive comments were either directed toward plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her."

Jackson's lawyer conducted the deposition that began the crumbling of Deen's perch atop the celebrity chef world after it was revealed she admitted to using the n-word.

Deen has denied prejudice, but lost her Food Network show, many of her endorsement deals and stores stopped carrying her line of cookware products after the story broke early this summer.

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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