Equinox was recently ordered to pay $11.25 million to a former UES employee who filed a lawsuit alleging she had been wrongfully terminated due to her race and gender.
Röbynn Europe, a Black personal trainer, worked at Equinox’s location at 203 East 92nd Street for a 10-month period between 2018 and 2019. Equinox alleges her termination was the result of her being late 47 times, but last week, a jury ruled in Europe’s favor – agreeing with the notion that punctuality was merely a pretext for letting her go. Europe’s lawyers also argued that other employees were rarely reprimanded for their own tardiness.
Europe is a former professional bodybuilder who first started working in fitness when she was hired to work at the office of David Barton Gym. An alumni of Oberlin college, her aim was to support herself financially while pursuing a tattooing apprenticeship.
Europe alleges her time at Equinox exposed her to a deluge of racist comments, largely from one of the location’s managers – Christopher Maltman – who reported to her. She says these included consistent remarks about the bodies of Black women and negative language regarding non-White employees. In an incident Europe described as being particularly disheartening, her boss allowed a client to request a White trainer, even despite the legal liability this would open Equinox to. These experiences, Europe testified, were causing her such stress that her personal health was deeply impacted, and the bulimia she struggled worsened to the point that she had to check herself into treatment.
While Equinox did not dispute the comments made by Europe’s direct report, the company has filed a motion for the court to reconsider the case – arguing that these comments don’t fairly reflect her claims of a hostile workplace, nor do they warrant such a significant financial award.