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Celebrity Chef Paula Deen Sued for Sexual Harassment

A former employee at the restaurant owned by celebrity chef Paula Deen and her brother has filed suit, alleging sexual harassment and a hostile work environment. The Savannah restaurant is co-owned by Deen and her brother, and the plaintiff named both Deen and the brother in the employment law suit.

The former employee’s suit also alleges that she was subject to assault, battery and emotional distress while employed at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House. The woman who filed the lawsuit was a former general manager at the restaurant. She claims in her complaint that Deen’s brother drank on the job, viewed pornography, made sexual and racist comments and spit on her.

Attorneys for Deen claim that the former employee is making the sexual harassment allegations only after Deen refused to pay off the employee. Deen’s attorneys said that the allegations are “false” and they will be “proven false in court.”

“She [the plaintiff] has made baseless, inflammatory allegations, threatening to go to the press and ruin Paula Deen’s reputation and the reputation of her businesses unless we paid her a large sum of money,” Deen’s lawyer recently said in a statement. “We refused to bow to that kind of pressure and refused to pay money to address the false claims.”

The Georgia judge presiding over the case rejected the Deen’s attorney’s request for a gag-order on the pre-trial comments and proceedings. The gag order would have prevented any of the parties in the suit from commenting on the lawsuit to the media.

Source: Huffington Post, “Paula Deen’s Attorneys Dispute Sexual Harassment Charges,” 3/7/2012

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