Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Paula Deen Wins (on Race Claims)!

The plaintiff in the Paula Deen lawsuit claimed race discrimination and harassment based on allegations that Afircan-American employees had to use a back door, couldn't use customer restrooms (which white employees could use), and Defendant Hiers made racist jokes and used the n-word. In the end, the plaintiff was too white to win. No, seriously - she lost because she is white.

You can read the opinion here (HT: Eric Meyer for posting it on Scribd):
In this case, the Court concludes that Plaintiff is not an aggrieved party under Title VII because her interests are not those arguably sought to be protected by that statute. At best, Plaintiff 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.
Plaintiff's two bi-racial nieces and a single comment that her Sicilian father looked like a "n*****" were not enough to save her claims.

Now, to be clear, Title VII certainly protects white people - but this judge concluded that it does not protect them from race discrimination against African-Americans. In theory, had she opposed the race discrimination, she may have been able to raise a retaliation claim.

The Court dismissed the race discrimination claims, but reserved ruling on the other claims, including sexual harassment. Of course, the damage is already done for Paula Deen after her disastrous deposition. Am I the only one wondering why Paula Deen was deposed before the motion to dismiss was resolved? If you have an explanation, drop a comment.