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Paula Deen Named in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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By Myles Collier, Christian Post Contributor
March 6, 2012|9:38 am

The former general manager of a restaurant co-owned by Paula Deen has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sexually harassed.

The civil complaint, which was filed Monday in state court in Savannah, Ga., was brought by Lisa T. Jackson.

Jackson, a former manager at Uncle Bubba's Oyster House, is co-owned by Deen and her brother, Earl W. "Bubba" Hiers.

According to the suit, during the five-years she worked there, Hiers made continual inappropriate sexual comments to her and other staff members. Hiers also downloaded pornography on a work computer that was shared with Jackson.

The majority of the 33-page complaint reveals what the plaintiff claims to be rude and inappropriate behavior. There were also detailed incidents of blatant racist remarks by Hiers.

The suit also included incidents that Hiers physically intimidated employees, displayed pornography at work and acted toward Jackson in a sexually degrading manner, by forcibly kissing her cheek and spitting on her.

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Deen is highlighted in one incident in the suit which alleges that Deen used a racial epithet. Jackson claims she was in charge of the food for Hiers' 2007 wedding and approached Deen to seek her advice.

The suit alleges that Deen told Jackson she wanted a "true Southern plantation-style wedding." While describing the scene Deen used the epithet to refer to African Americans whom she wanted to "wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties."

The suit continues to describe that Deen wanted it to look like the "Shirley Temple days when they used to tap dance around ... Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn't it? But we can't do that because the media would be on me about that."

Deen, Hiers and other Deen-owned companies are named as defendants in the suit. The suit seeks unspecified damages for sexual harassment, infliction of emotional distress as well as other charges.

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