By Amber Goodhand – Radar Reporter
The plaintiff behind the explosive new lawsuit against Paula Deen and her brother Bubba Hiers is not just a disgruntled employee, and her attorney exclusively tells RadarOnline.com that former employees are expected to come forward as witnesses.
Lisa Jackson filed a lawsuit in Georgia on Monday against Paula Deen Enterprises, with claims of a shocking pattern of alleged racism, including the use of the N word, sexual harassment and infliction of emotional distress and assault while holding her General Manager position at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House.
“Ms. Jackson will be portrayed as a disgruntled singular employee, but there will be an enormous amount of evidence of misconduct. That day will come when that evidence is front and center,” Jackson’s attorney, Wesley Woolf told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview.
“Right now we don’t have an army of witnesses, but they’re there and in due time… We do have employees who have left the Paula Deen family of business and will be testifying. But many out of fear will not come forward until we subpoena them to come forward.”
As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Jackson gave numerous examples in her lawsuit and in one claims she was appointed by Deen to handle the catering and staff for Bubba’s wedding in 2007.
When she asked Deen what the servers should wear: “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n***ers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around,” Jackson alleges Deen told her. “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.”
And while most of the complaint was pointed at Hiers, Woolf notes that Deen had a responsibility to her employees.
“Much of the conduct comes from Bubba, but Paula has knowledge of it and she knows the workplace is full of sexual harassment and she knows the racial discrimination that’s filed in the lawsuit,” Woolf said.
“And by doing nothing about it, she enables him to continue the behavior.”
Interestingly, Woolf points out that Jackson never went to Human Resources with her complaints in the workplace — because there was no HR department.
“There was no HR at this corporate enterprise with collectively over 500 employees, which is itself unusual. They did not want an HR director who would take matters out of their control and place them in control of someone who knows right from wrong,” Woolf said.
“However, this crisis has caused them to hire an HR person and that occurred sometime in 2011. But at all times my client was there, there was no HR director.”
Woolf says his client is seeking back pay from August 2010 forward, damages in the form of money for emotional and physical pain and suffering, and punitive damages intended to prevent a continuation of the conduct.
“To her, that’s the most important part of this lawsuit. She hired these staff members and cares very deeply for them and many of them are still there. She wants them to have a better working environment,” Woolf said.
“This is not the first time the defendants have seen a draft of the lawsuit and litigation was our last and only option.”