Deen is accused of making racist jokes and Hiers is accused of calling employees "fat" and being violent

By People Staff
March 06, 2012 09:40 AM
Credit: Brian Killian/WireImage

Paula Deen and her brother Earl W. “Bubba” Hiers are being sued by a former general manager at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House, a restaurant they co-own.

Lisa Jackson – who worked as general manager at the Savannah, Ga., eatery for five years – alleges in court documents filed Monday in the Superior Court of Chatham County, that she was subjected to sexual harassment and violent behavior by Hiers.

The documents claim that Hiers’s “conduct was even physically threatening and universally humiliating,” adding, “The staff … lived in fear of Bubba Hiers.”

Said to be “a frequent customer of pornography websites” in Jackson’s complaint, Hiers allegedly brought pornographic material to the workplace on regular basis and visited the websites on the kitchen computer, often forgetting to log out, causing employees to be forced to see his pornographic viewings.

According to the filing, Hiers also instituted a requirement that female managers wear long sleeves because of some of the so-called “fat girls” whom he said also shouldn’t be wearing capri pants or skirts.

“My client informed Paula Deen of these conditions – the sexual harassment and racial discrimination, all of it,” Jackson’s attorney Wesley Woolf told PEOPLE. “I’m not saying once or twice; I’m saying frequently to Paula Deen herself in person, over the phone, with corporate counsel for Paula Deen. And nothing was done about it.”

Deen, 65, is also accused in the documents of making racist jokes.

A rep for the celebrity chef declined to talk to PEOPLE for this story, saying, “We do not comment on any pending legal issue.”

With reporting by Liza Hamm and Thailan Pham