Paula Deen is off of at least one hook.
A federal judge has dismissed claims of racial discrimination from a lawsuit filed by a former employee of the beleaguered TV cooking personality and restaurateur, ruling that plaintiff Lisa Jackson can't sue for treatment that she herself didn't allegedly endure.
It was while giving a sworn deposition in this case that Deen fatefully admitted to past use of the N-word, particularly after being held up during a bank robbery by an African-American assailant in 1987.
"Her difficulties do not fall within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII and cannot support a claim of racial discrimination under the statute," U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. wrote in his 20-page decision, obtained Monday by E! News.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
Jackson, who is white, alleged in her lawsuit that a "racially biased attitude prevailed throughout and pervaded Defendants' restaurant operations" and that corporate management was a "Boys club where men occupy management positions and women are not invited to take on substantial decision-making roles."
Claims of a hostile working environment and disparate treatment based on racial discrimination were dismissed; allegations of sexual harassment still stand. Deen's brother and business partner Bubba Hiers is also a defendant.
"We are pleased with the Court's ruling today that Lisa Jackson's claims of race discrimination have been dismissed," a rep for Deen said in a statement. "As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone."
While her future status as a culinary industry powerhouse remains uncertain, the legal tables at least have seemingly started to turn for Deen. Last week, a New York man pleaded guilty to using interstate communications to try to extort money from the former Food Network star after demanding $200,000 from her in exchange for his silence about other so-called inflammatory remarks she had supposedly made.