Former Ga. GOP aide’s lawsuit says colleagues used racial slur

A former Georgia GOP employee has sued the party and claims she was discriminated against because she is black.

Qiana Keith of Hall County says in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Atlanta, that she overheard co-workers refer to her as the “house (racial slur),” showed her disrespect and humiliated her.

The suit claims that Keith was fired after complaining to her superiors about her co-workers’ behavior and seeks damages and lost wages under the federal Civil Rights Act.

Officials with the Georgia Republican Party did not return calls for comment. Anne Lewis, the Republican Party’s attorney, said, Keith was fired for “consistently poor job performance.”

More than two months after being fired, Keith “contacted the party through a lawyer and made claims of race discrimination and retaliation,” Lewis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a statement. “We immediately undertook a full investigation of those claims and found that there was no merit to any of them. The party and Chairman Padgett will vigorously defend themselves in court against these completely unfounded claims.”

Keith, who worked as executive assistant to party Chairman John Padgett, says co-workers also gossiped about her over a 2002 felony conviction in Montana, which she says the party was aware of when she was hired in 2013. Keith had to have her party wages garnished to make restitution in the case and said she told the party’s accounting director of the situation. She later overheard a conversation between the accounting director and another employee, who said, “I didn’t even know there were black people in Montana,” the suit says.