A federal judge has thrown out a race discrimination lawsuit filed against celebrity chef Paula Deen by one of her former employees. Lisa Jackson sued Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, claiming that she was subjected to sexual harassment and racially offensive talk and employment practices while she was a manager of Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House. Hiers runs the restaurant and Deen is a co-owner.
U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that Jackson, who is white, had no grounds to sue her former employees for what she claims was poor treatment of black workers.
The judge ruled that, 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 added that allowing Jackson to file a racial discrimination suit on behalf of others "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."
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Moore ruled that Jackson can still sue Hiers for sexual harassment, Fox News reported.
“We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson's claims of race discrimination have been dismissed," Deen's publicist said in a statement. "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.”
It was Jackson’s lawyer who got Deen to admit under oath that she had used racial slurs in the past. Following that admission, the Food Network and other corporate sponsors parted ways with Deen.