A black woman who was fired as a personal trainer from an Equinox fitness center for allegedly being late 47 times in 10 months, sued for discrimination – and won!
A predominantly white Manhattan jury of five women and 3 men awarded the woman $11.3 million dollars earlier this month.
Röbynn Europe filed a lawsuit against Equinox in 2020 after she was terminated just 10 months into her job as a personal trainer.
Europe says a white employee created a “toxic atmosphere” and made degrading comments about black women.
She says she was discriminated against because she is black and a woman.
Equinox claimed they fired Europe because she was late to work 47 times in less than one year of her employment with the company.
According to CBS, a judge dismissed Europe’s claim that Equinox retaliated against her for ‘calling out racism and sexism’ at the health club – however, the case still proceeded on race and gender bias claims.
Last week a jury awarded Europe $10 million in punitive damages, $1.25 million in compensatory damages and $16,000 in back pay.
Röbynn Europe’s lawyer Susan Crumiller cheered the verdict, blasted Equinox and warned other businesses in New York in a statement.
“We could not be more thrilled with today’s jury award. The jury sent a loud message to Equinox that there are serious consequences for corporations that permit racist and sexist behavior in the workplace. We are also pleased that the jury found Equinox’s racism had a severe and lasting impact on Röbynn’s mental health and that she deserved to be compensated for it. Let this be a warning to all businesses in New York that if you try to brush harassment and discrimination under the rug, you will not get away with it.” Europe’s attorney said.
After she was hired by the high-end Equinox gym in 2018, Röbynn Europe, a Black personal trainer, was quickly promoted to oversee a group of 15 employees. But soon, she alleges, a White employee created a “toxic atmosphere” by repeatedly making vulgar comments about Black women’s bodies as well as objecting to her being his boss.
Europe’s employment didn’t last long. Less than a year after starting at Equinox, she was fired — and the reason for the termination was the crux of a lawsuit she filed in 2020.
She alleged she faced discrimination due to her race and gender, and that she lost her job because Equinox retaliated against her for calling out racism and sexism at the club. The gym claimed she was fired for arriving late 47 times during her 11 months at the company. While a judge dismissed her claim of retaliation last year, the case continued, focused on the issues of race and gender bias.
Earlier this month, a jury of five women and three men sided with Europe, awarding her $11.25 million in damages, a verdict that includes $10 million in punitive damages against the gym, according to court records.
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