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State GOP denies race allegations

Former employee claims discrimination in lawsuit

POSTED: August 21, 2014 12:45 a.m.

The Georgia Republican Party has denied allegations of racial discrimination by a Gainesville woman who was fired from her job with the party.

Qiana Keith filed a lawsuit against the party earlier this month, saying that she was the subject of discrimination and racial slurs when she worked as executive assistant to party Chairman John Padgett.

In the suit, Keith alleges that she was fired as retribution for her complaints about discriminatory treatment.

Keith, who is described in the suit as a supporter of the Republican Party, claims that the party’s accounting director told her she was acting like a “Queen Bee,” was overheard referring to Keith with racial slurs, and started a dispute with her over parking spaces that continued even when Keith stopped using the parking space in question.

Keith also alleges that she was denied privileges offered to other employees, was denied tasks usually assigned to the chairman’s assistant — sometimes in favor of white employees — and was told during an event she had “made a mistake” when she sat a black party member at the same table as the chairman.

Keith said she complained to her supervisor about “rampant racist comments,” but that the complaints were ignored and she was fired for poor performance a few weeks later.

In a response filed Tuesday, the party denied all accusations of discriminatory treatment.

The response says the party “den(ies) that they engaged in any conduct that would subject them to liability or which entitles Plaintiffs to any remedies or relief of any kind.”

The response also denies that the party “committed any unlawful or wrongful acts.”

The party admits to some of the facts set forth in the suit, such as the date Keith began work with the party and the name of her supervisor, but denies every allegation of discriminatory treatment or the use of racial slurs.

The response denies the allegations that a racially charged parking dispute took place, admitting only that Keith spoke with an employee about her parking space.

The response also hints that the emails Keith sent to her supervisor complaining of discriminatory treatment contained
inappropriate comments, saying, “the ... emails speak for themselves, and Plaintiff has selectively quoted and added to the portion of the email provided.”

In some cases, such as an allegation that Keith received an email from an unidentified co-worker about the spot, the party says that it doesn’t have enough information to either confirm or deny, but the response is mostly denial of allegations.

The phrase “GOP Defendants deny the allegations” appears at least 48 times in the 24-page response.

Kimberly Worth, the attorney representing Keith, did not reply to requests for comment.

The defendants’ attorney Anne Lewis declined to comment further, saying the matter would be litigated in court.



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