Racial Discrimination Claims in Paula Deen Lawsuit Dismissed

A judge has dismissed the claims of racial discrimination in Lisa Jackson's lawsuit against the celebrity chef
Staff Writer
Racial Discrimination Claims Dismissed | Paula Deen

Chia Chong

A judge has dismissed the racial discrimination claims.

It's been a while since Paula Deen had some good news, but it finally came; Savannah Now reports that a U.S. District judge has thrown out the racial discrimination claims in Lisa Jackson's lawsuit against Paula Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers.

"Her difficulties do not fall within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII and cannot support a claim of racial discrimination under the statute," U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled in a 20-page order. Moore went on to say that Jackson did not allege that she was the target of unlawful racial discrimination, and thus did not "suffer any adverse employment decision." 

Jackson, instead of claiming that she suffered from racial discrimination, claimed that Deen and the racist environment injured what could have been "harmonious working relationships with her African-American subordinates." Moore, however, decided that this was not what racial discrimination laws were meant to protect. "At best, [Jackson] is an accidental victim of the alleged racial discrimination. There are no allegations that Defendant Hiers's racially offensive comments were either directed toward Plaintiff or made with the intent to harass her," he wrote in his ruling.

The sexual harrassment claims are still intact, AP reports. These claims allege that Bubba Hiers often made sexual jokes about women, proclaimed "fat girls" shouldn't wear capris, and habitually watched pornography on the restaurant's computer without logging off. 

Still, the dropped racial harrassment claims are a win for the Deen team, who previously tried to dismiss those claims by saying Jackson could not represent others in a claim for racial discrimination, since Jackson is a white woman. "We are pleased with the court's ruling today that Lisa Jackson's claims of race discrimination have been dismissed," Deen's representative Elana Weiss emailed to the Associated Press. "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."

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